Saturday, March 17, 2012
You Don't Bring Me Flowers
Today seemed like a good day to make a stranger smile with some flowers. As usual, I went to Wegman's where they have a nice selection of pre-made bouquets for reasonable prices. I picked out a bunch of what I think were red carnations. I know all the women reading this will laugh at the fact that I hardly know a carnation from a daffodil from a rose or a daisy, but that's OK. They looked nice whether I knew what they were or not!
I had decided that I would give them to someone in the parking lot who looked like the "right" person. To be honest, I'm not really sure what my exact criteria were for determining "right", but I figured I'd know it when I saw it. I didn't really want to give them to a couple, or to a guy, or to someone who looked too rushed. Finally, I saw a woman who looked like the perfect person. As I approached her and offered her the flowers to wish her a good day, she seemed pleased, but also surprised - maybe even a bit confused. She wasn't quite sure what to make of me or why I was giving her the flowers. When I explained that it was nothing more than wanting to spread some kindness and make people feel better, she really opened up and was so happy. She revealed that she was a nurse and a single Mom and that no one ever gave her flowers. It was clear that it had genuinely made her day.
A common theme that I've observed throughout this year is that true, unexpected acts of kindness, with no strings attached, mystify people to an extent. It's as if they have no paradigm for how to process or understand it, so it's even sometimes hard to accept it. I'm not sure yet what to make of that, but it's interesting to see nonetheless.