“I dance because I want to make people happy,” says seven-year-old Ayden.

Ayden loves to dance. For the last few months, he’s danced his way into hearts at Soda City Market in Columbia, South Carolina. With busker license, Ayden treks to the market with one goal…to fill people’s hearts with happiness through dance. 

“Every Saturday he gets up, on his own, and says he wants to go to Soda City. It’s never a Saturday where it’s not his choice to go,” says Tonya Cobb, Ayden’s mom. 

But not everyone was sold on the idea of dancing for a crowd, at first. “My personal filter is I would never get out there and just dance,” says Bernard Cobb, Ayden’s dad. “As a dad, should I be letting him do this? I had to rein that back in because if I had done that, then he wouldn’t have been able to self-actuate.”

Through dancing, Ayden has learned perseverance and even some Soda City goers have found inspiration. 

“If someone comes up and sees Ayden dance, I hope that the biggest thing they take away is that it’s ok just to be them,” adds Bernard. “That it’s OK just to be themselves…because that’s beautiful.”