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Petal It Forward movement brings randoms acts of kindness to Victoria

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A national movement similar to Pay It Forward puts smiles on people's faces but not in a way you would think.

Floral Expressions, a local floral shop in Victoria, is a apart of the Society of American Florists. Each your the organizations holds a #PetalItForward movement.

The society describes the day as tears of joy, messages of thanks and communities filled with flowers when floral industry members in 467 cities in 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Canada led 573 hosted local Petal It Forward events on October 11th.

"Three or four years ago what the Society of American Florists wanted to do is pull florists in nationwide and they wanted to involve them in the community in the sense of just showing the affect that flowers have on people in regards to everyday happiness. It was really a just because movement as opposed to their being an actual floral reason or holiday behind it," said Holly Weber, Floral Expressions manager.

Expressions Floral randomly gave bouquets to 130 people around downtown Victoria and Chick-fil-a on October 11th as a part of the national campaign.

"It was the first time ever for us. First we went downtown knowing it would be busy and that people would be arriving for work. We just had fun handing them out," said Weber.

The movement is a random act of kindness but also encourages people to Petal It Forward to someone else.

"The concept behind it is I would hand you, Amber, a bouquet of flowers just as a feel good effort. Just because, for you to enjoy during the day. Then I would give you another one to share with someone else whether it be a family member or coworker. Just someone on the street or at a drive through window. It didn't matter. It just about showing that flowers have that positive affect on people whether it's giving or receiving," said Weber.

Weber says the women loved receiving a bouquet of flowers.

"Women were very receptive. I think that by proxy that's a normal reaction. Several of them were taken back asking, 'You're giving these to us? You're giving these to me today?'"

The men are completely shocked when handed a random bouquet of flowers and some try to make a run for it.  

"Men were actually taken by surprise in downtown Victoria. We were there early in the morning around 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Several men were running away from us. We explained and then they understood. We had several who were excited to take them to work and share them with a receptionist or someone who does something for them throughout the day," said Weber.

There second location was Chick-fil-a. The people were very happy and responsive as Weber and her mother handed out bouquets of flowers.

"A lot of shared blessings just for the joy of it. A lot of sincere surprise, said Weber."

#PetalitForward is not only a movement of kindness but a social media movement. This year’s campaign generated almost 82 million impressions nationwide.

"We have been active and really strong with social media marketing for about 4 or 5 years now. We've been very strong across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and so on. We definitely did see increase in interest in the spike with social media, with hits and views that day and the following day," said Weber.

Expressions Floral has been here in Victoria for 35 years. They have a solid client base in town and cherish the intimacy of giving and receiving flowers.

"Flowers are about relationships. Of all the things that I think of in my own life as a mother and as a busy person, it's something we create from scratch from the ground up. It's not just pulled off of a shelf or a rack. There's a lot of emotion attached to a flowers when sending and receiving. We have the honor of being very involved in people's lives from the time children are born, all through their grade schools years, performances, high school prom, homecoming and weddings and so on. It's a very fun industry to be in. It's a very personal business," said Weber.

Victoria's Expressions Floral plans to bring this national act of kindness movement locally.

"I think there's great opportunity to bring the Petal It Forward movement locally. We have a busy season especially now after Halloween and with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming soon. We have a great interest in wanting to do things locally. We've always supported local organizations and the arts. This was fun because we got the chance to interact with people we've never met before, people we had not seen before," Weber said.

Newscenter 25's Amber Joseph asked a few local Victorians about how they feel about Petaling it Forward with random acts of kindness.

"Kindness can never be overlooked. Nor can it be more appreciated. So, I'm glad someone is thinking along those lines. "I think it's a beautiful idea and the sentiment I think is beautiful. I think people would enjoy being appreciated that way. I'd feel very blessed to have someone that kind and thoughtful to hand me a bouquet. So, I think it's a good idea," said Judy Chesser, Victoria resident.

"I think it would be an awesome idea. I think it would be a really super surprise moment and it would be really special. and, I would give it to either my mother or my grandmother. It would be a really great surprise. It's awesome. I think it would really make my day and I would be able to share that with someone else. So, yes it would be good all the way around," said Angela Torres, Victoria resident.

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