Philadelphia, PA

"Happy Flower Lady" delivers 65,000 bouquets to people in need of a smile: "I hug, and they hug back"

Amy Christie

Patricia Gallagher lives in Philadelphia and is known locally as the "Happy Flower Lady." She can often be seen picking up flowers given away by grocery stores and then rushing to bring the leftover bouquets to people who need joy in their lives.

It could be residents in nursing homes or just walking on a street and giving flowers to kids, parents, and elderly people. What matters is to brighten up days and help as best she can.

Patricia loves to help out in the community because she feels comforted and supported every time she makes someone happy. Kindness goes both ways, and having flowers as a way to reconnect with happy times is an amazing way to bloom positive thoughts.

What are the details?

The "Happy Flower Lady" has been spreading kindness with petals for nine years, delivering 65,000 bouquets that surprised people who needed hope, smiles, encouragement, and moral support.

"It's something that gives me joy every day; picking up these free flowers and being able to bloom smiles everywhere I go," Gallagher shared with The Epoch Times.

The woman has delivered flowers to senior living facilities several times, knowing that many people who stay there need to focus on happy thoughts.

"I feel wonderful. I feel good. Give me my flowers while I'm living. I enjoy getting flowers. To me, it makes my day. I love flowers," Sheioah Gordon, who lives in the Stephen Smith Towers senior community, said about the wonderful initiative.

"Flowers brighten up everybody, and the residents need them. She's such a great person; I love to see her come," Felicia Wise, who is employed as a social worker, said about the unique effect flowers have.

"I think this is an awesome thing that she's doing for the community. I feel this can truly make somebody's day. If you're down or if you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed and you get the flowers, they can turn your day into a good day. So I think this is great. And it makes me feel happy," Tanisha Dawson, from Nurtured Nest homecare agency, said about Gallagher's idea and the positive impact flowers have each and every time.

"I think that she should keep on doing it. It's something that helps the community with so many negative things happening. This is a positive contribution, and I commend her. Hopefully, we can all be a part of it," Dawson added.

And the flowers Gallagher gives are not strictly destined for senior facilities. The bouquets bring happiness to many places around the city.

"I love the flowers; they're beautiful. They make my home and my kitchen table look good. Put them in a vase, and they'll be beautiful for a week. I don't know Patricia personally, but I appreciate her giving these flowers to me anyway. A small act of kindness can add happiness to people's lives. You never know what one 'Hello' or a bundle of flowers may do to brighten up someone's day," Tia R. Myrick, a resident from Philadelphia, shared about the touching actions.

The woman first set up her flowers project nine years ago. It was called "Happy Flower Day."

The idea came up after she started living with her mom so she could look after her. They wanted to have fun together, not just go shopping and pay visits. Gallagher's daughter thought about it first, thinking it would be nice to get in touch with different stores and find out what they did with their leftover flowers.

Once they heard her idea, Gallagher, her 88-year-old mom, and their friend Bob, 91, went out, passing flowers to everyone they met on the streets in Philadelphia. They went out every morning and loved seeing people smile back at each bouquet.

Since those moments, Gallagher has kept on brightening lives with flowers in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and shelters or giving them to strangers passing by.

Gallagher is just as excited today as she was when she just started because, somehow, every time she feels like giving flowers, she can spot the right person in a matter of seconds.

"Just yesterday, I went and picked up 125 flowers. Then I thought, 'Where should I go?' and I thought of a place that was an hour away. After that, I thought, oh, with the cost of gas, should I drive an hour?" she said.

After a few more minutes, she finally knew she should go anyway.

"When I got there, a resident was just being moved in, and her daughter, probably my age, was very sad about bringing her mother into the nursing home. So when I offered her flowers, she felt so comforted," she recalled.

All caregivers who work in that nursing home also received flowers on that day. They had organized a party for everyone who had their birthdays soon, so the flowers completed the joyful atmosphere.

"Those 100 or so bouquets just went," Gallagher shared.

The woman feels motivated and energized every time she can make someone else feel better. The fragrance, the hugs, and the colors she spreads to people who will always remember her selfless gestures go on to add meaning to her life, every minute of every day.

"I feel so happy. Every time I come towards someone with flowers, I say: 'I have some free flowers leftover. Would you like a bouquet?' And they ask, 'Are they free?' And I say 'Yes.' Then I smile, and they smile; I hug, and they hug back. You can't ever have a bad day when you're passing on flowers. You're giving, but the fragrance comes back at you. I think, as the giver, I have as much joy as the person who receives the flowers," Gallagher concluded about what flowers have come to mean to her and the role they play in her life.


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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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