My very favorite flower job so far was when a clothing store hired me to make 200 farmer's market-type bouquets for their grand opening. I brought the flowers to the store and gave them away to the first 200 customers. I rolled this huge, wobbly, cart, overflowing with flowers through the mall parking lot. I lugged it up steps, squeezed it onto the elevator, pushed it through the long hallways, got lost, pushed it through the long hallways some more and squeezed it into the tiny store. For the millionth time in my flower career, I found myself thinking, "what that frick!?!?" I get myself into the most awkward situations.
The store opened. After each person completed their purchase at the register, I enthusiastically offered a bouquet. "Would you like some flowers?" I beemed. Without fail, the person looked around the room, like "who? me?" Then they looked at me dubiously, wondering "how much is this going to cost?" "Its free!" I exclaimed "thanks for shopping!". Again, they would look around the room, an expression of happy disbelief washing over. "uh thank you?!" and I swear, they would blush. Then, light up. Out of the store they went, quietly smiling or showing the flowers to their husband, or cradling their little bouquets. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Free flowers brought a few moments of complete joy to each person who received them.
First of all, what a brilliant idea that the store manager had! People loved the flowers and once word got out, the place was packed! Secondly, it got me thinking. I have been pretty disheartened by so much ugliness in the world these days. Flowers are beautiful. Spreading flowers seems like a pretty easy (albeit small) way to spread beauty and kindness.
Since that day, we have been running an experiment giving flowers to strangers whenever we have them to give. After a wedding or event, we generally have a bucket of leftover blooms in the back of the van. It kills me to throw them away, but honestly, after the work of an event, the thought of somehow getting the flowers presentable and to someplace like a nursing home or hospital is overwhelming. So, when we stop for gas or go into a restaurant for dinner or even in the parking lot at the venue, we look for someone passing by. It is so easy to grab the leftovers, snip the ends and wrap a rubber band around the stems. "Would you like some flowers?" we ask. "Who? me?" they look around. "They're free!!" we declare. The joy sets in. The lady at the Chick-fil-A drive through window... beaming, "AAH! Let me get a vase!!". The guy in the parking lot of the mall took the flowers, turned around and gave two dozen roses to his love who flung her arms around his neck. The elderly couple at the rest area smiled, then held hands as they walked back to their car. The bar tender posted this on with the caption "my weekend work at the winery has allowed me to meet people while I am so far from home and these flowers made my Saturday!" (we had no idea she was away from home!)
So it totally works! Will you join us? If you are a florist with extra flowers on your hand, or a gardener with extra flowers on your hands or a regular person with... yep... extra flowers on your hands, try giving them away and tag #kindnessblooms with a story. Maybe we can spread some moments of complete joy and kindness.