“We have never seen such generosity and kindness,” enthused Melissa Cummings, co-owner, along with her mom, of Petals by the Beach at 1470 Garnet Ave.
“She wanted to spread kindness to the people of her community, to show that there are still kind people out there despite our world problems. It was enough to pay for flowers every day for two weeks. That was pretty cool.”
The donation came from Pacific Beach resident Thera Storm, who is a grief counselor. Storm said the recent back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, that left at least 31 people dead, prompted her to do something extraordinary.
“After those two shootings within 13 hours of each other, I noticed the reaction on Facebook was just so scary and negative,” said Storm. “The next morning I sat down and thought, ‘What could I do that’s positive?’ Then I had the idea of donating money to a local flower shop.”
Storm was almost afraid of the reaction she’d get from Cummings, whom she didn’t know, when she approached her with her unorthodox plan.
But Storm shouldn’t have worried.
“She donated a generous amount at our shop for us to pass out flowers to complete strangers,” said Cummings. “She wasn’t paying it forward. In her words, ‘She wanted to spread kindness to the masses.’”
Cummings took Storm’s money and honored her request.
“For two weeks I’ve been passing out flowers every day to random people walking by of all different ages,” Cummings said, adding she wasn’t embarrassed about it.
“I just said, ‘We had a customer recently donate a significant amount of money, and we’re spreading kindness and happiness.’”
The reaction to Storm’s flower donation has been uplifting. “People said that is so nice, we need more of that,” said Cummings, adding, “A few people even cried. I began taking pictures (of recipients) and putting them on our Facebook and Instagram pages.”
“I feel like I had a very small, passive role,” said Storm of her gesture. “All of the work has been done by Melissa.”
It’s Storm's practice to take 10 percent of every paycheck and stash it away to do something special at a later date.
Asked if being a grief counselor factors into her humanitarianism, Storm said, “I’m just very aware that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. And to have that moment of randomly being blessed with some flowers, that just helps folks who are sad.
“I love helping people and watching them feel like I removed a backpack of bricks from them. I love flowers. Flowers was a nice gesture. I just hope they have a positive impact on people.”