Rushing into a post office that closes for lunch in 10 minutes, with your hands full and your mind scattered. Do you have the correct address? Check! Packing tape? Check! Wallet? Check! Okay!
We’ve all been there. When you walk out, you take a deep breath and think, “Phew! I made it!”
And then, from around the corner, someone hands you a bouquet.
No, this isn’t the beginning of a Katherine Heigl movie — it’s what happened on October 24th in Fishkill, New York.
The Society of American Florists started Petal it Forward in 2015, as a movement to spread the joy that flowers bring — both when received, and when given.
The concept is simple:
A person is given two free bouquets — one to keep, and one to “petal forward” by giving it to someone else.
Lovingly hit the streets of Fishkill around 11:30 am, where there was little foot traffic and a whole lot of flowers to be given out.
But it wasn’t long until the area where the team was camped out became flooded with people of every age, from every walk of life.
From the busy single on her lunch break, to the retired couple running errands — everyone was out and about, and curious as to who would be giving out flowers in the middle of a Wednesday morning.
“Sadly, we live in very cynical times. Everyone is skeptical and standoffish when you first approach them,” says Maria, one of Lovingly’s Happiness Ambassadors, who has participated in Petal it Forward several times now.
“It’s my favorite day of the year!” she added. “You never know what people are going through or what the day holds for them, but one thing is for sure — they always smile when handed flowers!”
If someone approached you with two bouquets, would you turn away? Immediately say no, thanks? That was the initial reaction from many that morning.
From wary stares to putting up their hand with their head shaking “no,” the Happiness Ambassadors had to convince many of those they encountered that the flowers were truly free!
The expressions soon softened and what started as a scowl turned to a smile, from ear to ear.
One gentleman’s face lit up as he was handed two bouquets, with no intent of keeping one for himself. “I’ll give one to my wife, and one to my mother!” That’s the true spirit of Petal It Forward!
As the afternoon went on, the flower supply began to dwindle and ultimately there was only one bouquet left.
Baffled by the odd number of bouquets remaining, Lovingly co-founder Ken Garland grabbed the last one and headed towards the parking lot. “We might as well still make one person’s day with it.”
Rounding the corner, he handed the bouquet to a woman walking back to her car. “She couldn’t believe it,” he added. “Her sister’s best friend just passed away, and she was so happy to receive the flowers so she could pass them along to her sister. It was meant to be.”
Over 450 Petal it Forward events were registered with the Society of American Florists to take place this year. From mom-and-pop florist shops to social media influencers, there’s a good chance that you may have seen some of the bouquets given out in your city!
Read about last year’s Petal It Forward event here!
If you received a Petal it Forward bouquet, we’d love to see it! Tag us on social media @givelovingly or send us your story and images to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is Lovingly? We’re glad you asked!