Lady Uses Leftover Flowers to Spread Joy

A bouquet of flowers.

Do not cut flowers as gifts during Chinese New Year because they are more commonly associated with funerals. (Image: Izzzy71 via Dreamstime)

It is not uncommon to come across people who spend time doing good deeds. For some of these people, making a difference in the lives of others is their main goal while there are others who simply want to make people feel good. Patricia Gallagher belongs to the second category. A resident of Philadelphia, this woman gives donated leftover flowers to others just because she loves the sight of a smile appearing on the face of the recipients. This has become a routine for her and has made her popular as the “Happy Flower Lady.” 

Patricia has been doing this since May 2013 and has given away over 65,000 donated bouquets of flowers. A lot of the recipients are those in senior living facilities. While this does not fetch her any material benefit, she feels that being able to bring joy to others is something that makes her day.

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Leftover flowers bring joy to recipients

She has given leftover flowers to the residents of the Stephen Smith Towers senior community a number of times, for example. A social worker serving the senior community, Felicia Wise, also applauds Patricia for using leftover flowers to spread joy. She says: “Flowers brighten up everybody. The residents need flowers to brighten up their day. And she’s such a good person, I love to see her come.”

She has given leftover flowers to the residents of the Stephen Smith Towers senior community a number of times.
She has given leftover flowers to the residents of the Stephen Smith Towers senior community a number of times. (Image: William Huang via The Epoch Times)

Residents are delighted with the experience. A lot of them are coping with serious ailments and have little communication with their family members. Flowers make them feel better and more relaxed.

Patricia’s act has also received praise from Nurtured Nest homecare agency’s co-owner Tanisha Dawson. She says: “I feel like this can make somebody’s day. If you’re down or if you are just waking up on the wrong side of the bed and you get these flowers, they can really turn your day to a good day. So I think this is great. And it makes me feel happy. I think that she should continue to keep doing it. I think that is definitely something that is helping the community with so many negative things going on. It’s a positive contribution. And I just commend her. Hopefully we can be a part of it.”

Patricia began giving away flowers at a time when she was living with her mother to help care for her. They started getting in touch with different stores and asked them for leftover flowers. Then Patricia and her mother would go around Philadelphia to pass them out. It became part of their morning routine. Since that time, she has received hundreds of donated bouquets which she has given to strangers in nursing homes, hospitals, hospices, and shelters. 

A lady takes boquets of flowrs out of the back of a red car and hands them to a smiling woman in front of an apartment building.
Patricia has received hundreds of donated bouquets which she has given to strangers in nursing homes, hospitals, hospices, and shelters. (Image: William Huang via The Epoch Times)

She adds: “You can never have a bad day when you’re passing on flowers. Because as the Chinese say: You’re giving but the fragrance really comes back at you. I think, as the giver, I have as much joy as somebody that receives the flowers.” She feels so upbeat about her initiative that she did not stop doing it even during the pandemic.

When the nursing homes were not willing to receive flowers during the first lockdown, she went to the streets of Philadelphia and gave the flowers to whoever she came across. In those days of misery and uncertainty, many people were glad to receive flowers.

Patricia is now planning to extend her flower-giving tour outside Philadelphia. She wants to explore cities like Chicago, Des Moines, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. She plans to explore the New England states and would like to give leftover flowers to the nursing homes, libraries, nonprofits, and schools in these places. She thinks a “Happy Flower Day” type of program could be done in other places too. Wherever there are flower shops or weddings taking place, someone could take the initiative to start their own leftover flowers sharing project.

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