Coronavirus kindness: 'Flower swap' brings smiles to Mountain View during pandemic

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Mountain View Kindergarten teacher swaps flowers for smiles during pandemic
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Mountain View Kindergarten teacher, Sam Thomas, reached out to neighbors on NextDoor to participate in a flower swap so she could spread joy to others through the gift of flower arrangements.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KGO) -- Looking for a way to spread smiles, a South Bay woman took to NextDoor with a one of a kind idea.

Mountain View kindergarten teacher Sam Thomas wants people to have reasons to smile during the COVID-19 pandemic, through flowers.

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"I just think of flowers that are something that usually reminds you of really happy times," Thomas said. "You get flowers at your wedding. You get flowers on Valentine's Day to show you love. They smell so nice and they are so beautiful. What's not to love about flowers?"

Her other passion, owning Lemon Tree Floral Design, which allows her to combine teaching and flowers through flower arranging classes for birthdays and other celebrations.

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But like all small businesses, the coronavirus pandemic impacted her lessons.

"Because it was more gatherings and events, it completely stopped," Thomas said. "But, when I was thinking about a way that I could put my name out there in the community, while also bringing a little bit of joy and beauty into people's life, the flower swap idea just kind of came to me."

Neighbors take flowers from their garden, leave them on their doorstep, Thomas arranges them and gives them back.

Some keep the flowers, others share the beauty.

"They were giving them away to their neighbors," Thomas said. "One said they gave their arrangement to their neighbor that had to celebrate her "Sweet 16" in quarantine. So I thought it was so nice that they got to enjoy it for a few minutes before they passed it along and gave it to somebody else to really love."

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If there are extra flowers, they don't go to waste.

After the flowers are arranged, Sam hits the road and delivers them to people who could use a smile right now.

Including Eva Sullivan who held a virtual baby shower recently.

"Shelter-in-place can feel pretty lonely," Sullivan said. "Getting these little deliveries helps you remember that we're all still together, even though we are separate and we all care about each other."

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Thomas has done 20 arrangements so far and hopes to continue her new idea.

She can't cover the entire Bay Area, so she hopes other florists in the area can continue the trend where they live.

"I was surprised that there wasn't anything out there about a flower swap," Thomas said. "So, I'm just hoping that people will see this and in their own communities, they may be inspired to do something similar."

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