Kindness in the time of corona

The bouquet of flowers Sue Northam-Ras received for being a Claremont florists 10 000th customer.

Sue Northam-Ras, Meadowridge

On Friday May 15, despite financial impacts from Covid-19, no doubt, a Claremont florist followed through on a promise made two-and-a-half years ago to send a special bunch of flowers to the customer who placed the business’s 10 000th online order.

And this is how the bouquet from Fabulous Flowers came to be delivered to me that day, at 10.35am.

At first, I stared at the flowers in disbelief. It must be a mistake, I assumed. But then I saw the florist’s dark blue card peeking out from among the leaves.

The week before, this same florist had delivered a massive bunch of brilliantly bright and joyous flowers to me, from a dear friend overseas. Perhaps the florist had mixed up the orders I thought?

Then on closer look inside the card, I saw a note that made me beam: With compliments of Fabulous Flowers – just because you are our
10 000 customer!

I dialled their number on the back of the card immediately.

I fondly recall hearing “Hello, fabulous”, as they answered the call, a fantastically cheery greeting.

‘’Yes, hello – I am your 10 000th customer!’’ I said, and was greeted with a warm happy response on the other end.

I called to say a big thank you and we chatted for a bit about the bouquet. Then she asked me if I’d wait for the boss. Within a short while, I was chatting to the owner, Josie. It dawned on me how few times they would get to know the “behind the scenes” of each bunch of delight they deliver!

And so I shared with her the history of my high school student exchange friendship with my special flower sender and the back story of how these flowers landed so perfectly timed despite being ordered during lockdown. But due to flowers and such deliveries being banned during that time, they weren’t delivered when ordered. Instead they arrived serendipitously.

“Everything happens as it should,’’ said Josie as we chatted. This is a line I always say too!

And, this is even more true and evident, because my mom had also been sent flowers the week before by the very same special Austrian friend/ student exchange extra daughter. In fact, my mom almost could have been order number
10 000 because my overseas friend hadn’t known my new home address in order to place the delivery. So instead she had finalised my mom’s flowers first because she knew my childhood home address off by heart. Thus making my mom’s order: #9 999FAB. And, with timing divine, my order was to follow:
#10 000FAB.

So may this be a story of hope, a reminder to follow through. This kind of kindness is multiplied and amplified in these challenging times of Covid-19 and reconnecting our shared humanity.

I am so grateful to the team at Fabulous Flowers – from the very happy smiling guy who delivered the flowers on my driveway, to the lady who answered the phone with such joy, and Josie for not only following through on their promise, but for their clear visualisation of delighting customer 10 000, and the magic that unfolded because we connected.

I told her about the divine timing: my flowers arrived at the end of a long hard day on May. 6 Likewise for my mom who unknowingly needed her floral surprise the next day, on May 7. As a vibrant 70 year old, always with a flower behind her ear, she’d had a long day with her now online art class teaching oils to beginners.

I told Josie many things. We chatted and we connected, all from a single act of kindness.

I also told Josie how my mom, Lyn Northam, had painted her Fabulous Flowers bouquet – a wild country bunch – in watercolour and later in oils too. Now these are the kinds of stories we need to experience more – the kinds of interactions for which we all yearn. The kinds of things that we can all do too. Covid-19 has reminded us of our shared humanity. To slow down and make that call, to make the time, to follow through. This is what we are called to do.

If we each do one thing, even just one, imagine all the kindness that will flow. Imagine all the stories. Imagine the joy and the human connection in this strange time of physical distance..