Brightening spirits in the northwest bloom by bloom
Woodeene Koenig-Bricker was standing in line at a local store in Eugene, Oregon, thinking about her bills and finding more work when she spotted some flowers. I wonder what they do with the flowers that are too old to sell? the writer and editor wondered. While she normally ignores such random thoughts, this time she walked over and asked the florist what they did with the old flowers.
“She blinked at me and said, ‘Um, we throw them out or sell at a deep discount.’ And purely on impulse, I asked, ‘Would you sell them to me if I gave them away?’”
Koenig-Bricker left her name and number, figuring she would never hear from the woman again, but the next day the phone rang. “I have flowers if you want them,” said the florist. Ignoring the balance in her checking account, Koenig-Bricker went back to the store. The florist brought out a huge cartload of flowers and said that she was willing to sell them for a dollar a bunch.
“I’ve taken some flower-arranging classes and knew that was an amazing deal, so I said I would take them all. She said the company she worked for couldn’t give them away — “I’m assuming it’s for the same reason grocery stores can’t give away food,” says Koenig-Bricker. “There probably are other places and other florists that might be able to donate them, but this was all happening in less than 24 hours, and I hadn’t really given this any planning or thought, so I was just taking the next step … I took the flowers and began giving them away.”
Koenig-Bricker began bringing bouquets to doctors’ offices, women’s care centers, nursing homes, fire stations and other places where people might need a lift, introducing herself as the “Flower Fairy Godmother.”
“I’ve always loved flowers and fairies — ‘Flower Fairy Godmother’ seemed right,” says Koenig-Bricker. “Also, I really don’t need or want people to know who I am — just that there’s [someone] out there who’s trying to bring a little light to an often dark and painful world.”
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