Stanely Bell, 69, was abandoned as a child in Old Town Alexandria.
He learned to sew while he was in foster care.
"Mama had one of those old Singer's with the pedal and she taught me how to sew buttons," he recalled.
A contractor by trade, his life changed in 1991. He had a stroke and it sent him on a path toward personal happiness.
Happy Stan, as he is best known for, is a fixture in his Southeast neighborhood.
He stands out, with his white afro and denim outfit covered in rhinestones and jewels.
He walks a lot, listening to a mix of jazz in his bedazzled headphones. His glasses aren't quite sunglasses but they do shine with brightly colored rhinestones and beads that spell out "Happy Stan."
"I am my original self," he said. "After the stroke, I had to do something to get my happy back. I had a total 360, a 360 of my diet, a 360 of my spirit."
Stan has been a raw vegan ever since.
"That's why people are sad because they're miserable since they're eating all that crap," he said laughing out loud.
His laugh, his smile is infectious and he spreads joy with his colorful outfits.
"People love it and that's why I keep going. It's fun and it makes people feel good and people need that nowadays because there's a of craziness out there," he said.
Stan sais the secret to happiness is simple: "Live your happy, love your happy and you'll be alright."
Happy Stan is also a big believer in essential oils and said he has not been on medication since his stroke 16 years ago.