Encouragement by Patty LaRoche


Beginning in 2016, Lewis Miller and his floral elves began an ingenious project in New York City. Loading buckets of flowers into a van, they began to secretly create arrangements designed “to make people smile.” And just like that, with their pop-up installations, “Floral Flash Art” was born.

According to Miller, “Our goal is to create a positive, emotional response through flowers…If you can just stop, pause and just have one second of joy, that’s amazing because that’s one of the things that’s so lacking and it’s hard.”

Once a month, Miller’s workers begin around 5:45 A.M. and complete their task before sunrise. Their arrangements are found in trash cans and near monuments, subway stations, construction equipment, statues, and street corner hot dog carts. Passersby are encouraged to take a flower to brighten someone else’s day, and when the arrangements are removed, they are taken to local care facilities.

Lewis’s love for flowers began at the age of seven when he would create (and recreate) designs using the same flowers. As a teen, his first job was to pick weeds at a local golf course where the lone female member, a 70-year old lady, took a liking to the young man and asked if he would be able to create floral arrangements for her home. He was eager to try, and before long, he was designing for her frequent parties. The word spread.

And that’s the part of the story I love. It took one person to give a weed-picker a chance, and now that weed-picker has evolved into a world-renowned florist who is giving back. One elderly lady saw potential. Was it that Lewis didn’t complain? That he was clean-cut? Diligent? Punctual? Cared about the grounds? Whistled while he worked? I have no idea, but this golfer looked beyond the lowly position and saw something she liked.

I’ve been there. When Carol Kent asked me to speak with her agency, I had no credentials like her other speakers. I had authored no book, held no PhD, and had very little background in public speaking. Yet, she gave me a chance, and it was life-changing. Of course, we all know that the ultimate one who saw potential was Jesus. Not one of his disciples had impressive credentials, yet he groomed them to grow into a bold, brave group of believers whose impact continues to impact the world.

We might not have the talent of Lewis Miller, but we all are capable of turning a weed-picker into a smile-bloomer with words of encouragement, and I’m thinking that today would be a great day to start.

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