Emilie’s Story

or, The Ripple Effect of Delivering Hope

Just as each bouquet made by our volunteers is different, each recipient has a unique story. As the last day unfolded along our GROW 2016 fundraising tour – which included stops at our branches in Tampa Bay, Knoxville, San Francisco, and Chicago – our celebrity guest speaker, HGTV host Chris Lambton, had a particularly touching visit with a woman named Emilie.

Emilie is a resident at Dobson Plaza, a senior care facility in Evanston, IL. On this cool November morning, she was surprised and charmed by the handsome stranger bringing her flowers on a Thursday. And Chris found himself not just delivering hope, but receiving the kind of joy one only gets from giving.

emilie1adjustedThe special moment was amplified when, after delivering bouquets given new life by Random Acts of Flowers Chicago to some 30 residents at Dobson Plaza, Chris retraced his steps down the hallway to leave. When he stopped to say a final goodbye to Emilie, he was moved to see her clutching the vase of repurposed flowers he had given her earlier that day.

“That’s powerful,” Chris said. “There is absolutely no doubt that what you are doing is meaningful when you see something like that.”

We learned more of Emilie’s story when her son, David, reached out to Chris via email the next day –

She moved to Dobson Plaza three years ago from her hometown of Springfield, where she spent 35 years as a Montessori teacher before her retirement. Despite being much closer to one of her sons and her grandchildren, the transition from Springfield to Evanston was difficult.

Hi Chris,

You don’t know me – my name is David, and I am the son of Emilie, who I believe you met yesterday during your visit to Dobson Plaza nursing home in Evanston, Illinois.

Dobson staff told me that you brought Mom flowers and spent a little time with her, and I just wanted to say thank you. I’m sure this made her day. I see her every weekend, but all visitors are appreciated. The transition for her from Springfield, where she is from, to Evanston has been difficult for her, and little acts of kindness go a long way.

Again, many, many thanks. I truly appreciate it, and I know she did as well.

emilie2adjusted1David later shared, “In the process of getting Mom through that transition, I’ve come to realize that, when you reach a certain age, the best thing you could give to a person is time.” Chris’s visit was just that, a personal moment of kindness and a step out of Emilie’s everyday routine. David added. “After Chris Lambton’s visit, Mom talked to me about it and she just lit up. She was touched by the flowers, and I – in turn – was touched because, again, that’s something that someone beyond our family did for her. It really meant a lot. It meant a lot to her, and it meant a lot to me.

News of David’s message to Chris along with photographs of Emilie with her bouquet spread across the Random Acts of Flowers branches and our national headquarters. In tandem, they affected us deeply and reminded us of the ever-expanding ripple effect of delivering hope and encouragement. Chris’s delivery touched Emilie and her family which, in turn, touched our organization as a whole, revitalizing us and refocusing us on the value of our mission.