On Wednesday, October 19, UFN joined the Petal It Forward movement, established last year by the Society of American Florists, to spread smiles and joy in Fishkill, NY. Nationwide, the day featured 256 Petal It Forward events in more than 225 cities in all 50 states - including UFN Partner Ten Pennies florist, who Petaled It Forward to great success with the help of local news station Fox 29 in Philadelphia.
Among the happy recipients of free flowers from UFN, with support from local florist Flowers by Reni, were commuters, retirees, local officials, firefighters, construction workers, children, and even public transit drivers.
Petal It Forward was created to spread awareness of the power of giving - and receiving - flowers. A recent study performed by SAF affirmed that 80% of Americans said they felt happy when receiving flowers, and furthermore, 88% of Americans felt happy while giving flowers! Joining with popular “pay it forward” random acts of kindness, Petal It Forward recipients are given two blooms: one to keep and enjoy, and a second to pass on to a friend, coworker, or even complete stranger, all to spread smiles and joy “just because!”
UFN’s “Happiness Ambassadors” were thrilled to join in the fun by handing out flowers along Main Street in Fishkill, NY. Capitalizing on lunch time foot traffic, we surprised 200 lucky recipients with two bouquets each - that’s 400 smiles, in just a few hours!
Many recipients were greatly moved by the gesture of “just because” flowers, often conveying that the random act of kindness made their day. “This is a great thing to be part of! I love my rose and can’t wait to give my second rose to another person,” commented recipient Heather Olivadoti.
Several recipients stopped in their tracks to get in on the smiles, including a Dutchess County transit driver and a motorcyclist who joined us up on the sidewalk! One recipient noted that it was her birthday, and so the surprise was extra special.
Another recipient, Jess Forlano, owner of The Dutchess Biercafe, told UFN, “You were meant to be here. My grandmother died yesterday, and this is so sweet. You never know how such a small gesture can really mean so much to someone.”
Some of our happiest recipients were also some of our smallest! Our littlest pals were thrilled to be given a flower, but were even more excited to Petal It Forward by giving their second bloom to their mothers.
Firefighter Kevin Kilkenny of the Village of Fishkill Fire Department agreed that “just because” flower giving can be even better than sticking to standard holidays like Valentine’s Day - and noted that this was his first time being given flowers, which made his day!
UFN came away from the day’s events with one very strong feeling: giving flowers really does spread joy. Recipients were universally thrilled and touched to receive flowers “just because,” and just as happy to pass their second flower on and keep the smiles going! We saw first-hand the power of human connection, brought about by the simple act of sharing flowers.