Flower shop places roses to brighten people’s day

As she walked into the Community Agency Building in downtown Seymour on Monday, Marianne Willacker spotted a half-dozen roses in the entryway.

When she picked them up, there was a note attached that read “Please take me!!! The world is full of nice people … if you cannot find one, be one!!! Hope these flowers make your day. If not, take and make someone else’s day!” Below that, it stated who the note was from: Jubilee Flowers & Gifts.

“It reminded me of somebody back East that does that in remembrance of her daughter, and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s nice,’” Willacker said. “I think we’re in a time right now in America that we need some compassion and thoughtfulness.”

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When she walked into the Jackson County United Way office, where she works, Willacker handed the flowers to a co-worker, Bonita Dobbs.

It caught Dobbs by surprise.

“It really did just kind of floor me because it’s not something you expect on a dreary Monday,” she said. “It certainly put a smile on your face.”

The gesture meant a lot to Dobbs because she said of all of the people Willacker knows, she chose to give them to her.

Plus, Dobbs said she has dealt with some personal issues with her husband’s health, so Willacker’s action meant even more.

“Something like this is certainly a bright spot for me in my life and just thinking, ‘What a kind gesture,’” Dobbs said.

Heather Zickler, who has owned Jubilee Flowers & Gifts in Seymour for 20 years, came up with the idea to place flowers around the city Monday.

That didn’t surprise Dobbs because she knows Zickler takes flowers to patients at the Don & Dana Myers Cancer Center in Seymour.

“It’s because Heather is such a community-minded individual that she did this,” Dobbs said. “It’s who Heather is. It’s not to draw attention, especially to Jubilee. It’s just Heather being Heather. What a kind, generous offer to make for the community. Kudos to them for doing such a great, great thing, particularly on such a dreary day.”

Instead of keeping the flowers for herself, Dobbs gave them to the first person she saw while leaving work Monday.

“I just shared my flowers with an elderly lady eating her supper alone. She cried tears of happiness, and that felt even better than the happiness I felt when they were given to me,” Dobbs said.

“It has just made my day,” she said. “It’s one of those feel-good things I’m going to carry with me. More people will get smiles from me more than they would on a dreary Monday. It’s just a feel-good story.”

Zickler said she decided to brighten people’s day with flowers as part of a New Year’s resolution.

“My New Year’s resolution is to judge less and be a better person, so this is my start,” she said.

Since giving and receiving flowers make people happy, it was the perfect thing to do, Zickler said.

“I knew that this is the way I wanted to start January off, just something to make people smile,” she said. “It’s so down, down, down. It’s Monday in January coming out of the deep freeze, so what a better day?”

Zickler said about a month ago, she came across a quote by Banksy, an England-based graffiti artist, political activist and film director: “The world is full of nice people. If you cannot find one, be one.”

Besides putting that quote on the note with the flower bouquets, she put it on the sign outside her business at 801 W. Tipton St.

“It was just a good way to start the new year off because we need more positive,” she said. “It’s January, and it’s gloomy, and we weren’t busy today, so I said, ‘This is what we’re doing.’”

After she put the 12 bouquets together, she placed them around the city where people would walk and see them.

“Me and my driver jumped in and went on a cruise and just passed them out to different locations,” she said.

Zickler said the last place had to be Starbucks so she could top off the good gesture with her favorite drink.

At that point, she was warm inside, not only from the drink, but also from her kind gesture.

“I thought I would give back because I appreciate what this community does for me, so just try to spread some joy,” she said. “As I was out doing it, I felt wonderful. I felt great. In fact, I’m going to try to keep thinking along these lines on the rare days that we’re slow, trying to give back.”

Lori Wischmeier said she was picking up a to-go order at Chili’s when Zickler was next door at Starbucks. Zickler got out of her car, gave Wischmeier a hug and handed her some flowers.

“It made me feel happy and brightened my day,” Wischmeier said. “I love, love this gesture. Such a fun way to share love and kindness. There is so much positive power in a smile, kind word or nice gesture. How often when you smile at someone do they smile back? Almost always. Being kind not only makes others feel loved but has a positive impact on your own attitude. Love never fails.”

Becky Morris found a bouquet outside her shop, The Buzz Hair Design Studio, in downtown Seymour.

“This is inspiration stuff here,” she said. “Makes me want to keep it going and do something to brighten someone else’s day.”

Whether a person was on the giving or receiving end, Zickler said she hoped it made them smile.

“I hope that if they feel inclined, they can just keep passing them on, pass them out,” Zickler said. “If you think you need it, then you take it, and if you’re having a bad day, you be the one that enjoys them.”

The action was similar to people placing scarves on poles in downtown Seymour in the winter of 2015 for people to take to stay warm.

It’s also similar to stories of people going through drive-thrus at restaurants and paying for the order of the person behind them in line.

“I’ve had that happen at Starbucks, and that is the best,” Zickler said.

All it takes is for one person to start something, and it may encourage others to do the same thing.

“It gives me faith in the human race,” Zickler said. “People like to gripe and all that stuff, and it’s better to sometimes remember that we’re all human. People don’t realize what a little thing can do.”

Whether it’s placing flowers around the community or some other type of thoughtful act, Zickler encourages people to be good and do good.

“Just have a stronger sense of community,” she said. “I’m just trying to promote community. It’s a great place to live, and I forget that sometimes.”

Like the sticker on Jubilee’s front door says, “Be kind.”

“I just think that’s an undervalued moral in our society today, just be kind,” Zickler said. “It’s easier said than done in today’s age. It’s so easy to get online and just tear each other down. It’s time to build each other up and be a community because we’re all closer than we think.”