Kindness in bloom in Bennington

Local florists take part in national 'Petal it Forward Day'

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BENNINGTON — On Thursday morning, The Gift Garden's Tami Greene and Dwain Wilwol were busy spreading a little kindness on Main Street.

The two randomly surprised people on the street, or at work in their offices, with two bouquets — one to keep, and one to share with a friend, family member, co-worker or anyone who could use a little lift.

It was the third year The Gift Garden has participated in Petal It Forward, a national initiative of the Society of American Florists. Last year, florists in 410 cities in all 50 states, plus Washington, took part.

"When we started doing it here, I was a little skeptical at first. But it's fun," said Wilwol, who owns The Gift Garden with his wife, Beth. "When you give somebody a bouquet of flowers when they're having a bad day, and just to see them smile, and say thank you and appreciate it, it makes it all worthwhile."

Greene and Wilwol gave away 60 bouquets on Wednesday. "We get them from our suppliers and then we just give them away," he said. "It's to promote the spirit of giving and sharing and make people's day."

"I've had people reach for their wallet, and said, 'nope,'" he said. "people aren't used to getting something, and having nothing expected in return. It's a good feeling."

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