My recipe for happiness: surprising people at train station with flowers


Today, I took about 40 bouquets to a nursing home in Lansdale. The Director of Nursing and I went up and down the halls and in and out of rooms giving flowers to ladies with names like Elsie, Tess, Ruth, Gertrude, Sadie and Esther. And to Arthur who wanted to take one to his girlfriend who lived there too.

Oh my goodness, roses. They are so good for my heart right now. I always lived in woodsy areas so I never had pretty garden flowers like these.

I can’t hear you. What did you say? Who are these flowers from?

I remember crystal clear when my husband gave me flowers. Right before he went off on a troop carrier to fight the war during the WW II big war.

Yes, this lady Patricia, has bags full of smiles for us today.

I try never to get my hopes up that anyone would bring me anything. My family doesn’t care about me. Most of them are gone anyway.

I reached to give flowers to a lady in a wheelchair. She swatted at me. Another resident said, She is afraid of human contact.” I left the purple bunch on her lap.

I had 20 left. I looked around the town – a kind of gloomy day. I wondered who needed a surprise of flowers. There was an AA Clubhouse a block away (Alcoholics Anonymous). I thought about just leaving them there with a note – “Wishing you the best with your recovery – one day at a time.” (Or maybe one flower at a time.)

I noticed the train station. I saw a person walking along on the pavement, in the slush. I saw my first opportunity for a random act of flowering. He was dressed in a T-shirt and saggy sweat pants and appeared to be from another country. I love diversity and other cultures. I asked if he wanted a free bouquet. He said he was from Bangladesh. I told him Welcome to the USA. He walked away shaking his head – maybe thinking this crazy American lady.

Then, I went to the train station and passed them out to taxi drivers waiting for customers and to the passengers waiting for trains.

One young man said, “Wow, I am going to visit my great-grandmom at the Rock Hill Mennonite Community. I try to get there every other week. I am waiting for the bus here because the snow is piled high over at the bus stop.”

“Would you like to take a whole bag with you? I have about ten more bouquets in my car. There are probably ten people there who need a little cheer today.”

I gave him a hug and told him what a fine young man he was – going to all of the trouble to visit his great-grandmom. He smiled appreciatively.

And then, I looked behind me. I saw a stream of people carrying flowers in the parking lot, sitting on benches, and crossing the street.

The weather was cold and bleak today in Lansdale but the thought just came to me: “God, you picked the right gal for this volunteer job of being the Flower Lady.”

Flowering is good for me right now. My mother is in at-home hospice care with me right now. I am especially glad to have this project. It takes my mind off things at home.

So for my wonderful mother and for all of the loving people living in nursing homes…..who received the gifts of the thousands of flowers donated to me by Trader Joe’s – you have given me a purpose every morning. I have a reason to be upbeat, full of energy and love celebrating the goodness of people with a bouquet of flowers!


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