Richard the Flower Man (Day 3 of the 30 Day Trial)

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I just have to share the loveliness of this tiny piece of my life… there is this guy, his name is Richard. He sells flowers on the corner of Old Pretoria Road and Gibson Drive in Buccleuch, every evening come rain or shine. I actually need to get a photo of him to add to this blog, but for now I will just tell this little story.
For the 7 years that I have lived in Buccleuch I have seen this guy trying to flog his goods. He only sells them from about 5pm onwards which leads me to believe that perhaps he has a day job too? I hope so… because no one ever buys his flowers from what I can tell and I don’t know that he can make much profit from the flowers that he does sell.
I used to feel a sadness seeing him standing there in the rain, covered only with a plastic bag to shield him, holding up his beautiful roses or lilies. As I sat in traffic I would watch people drive past without even noticing the person standing a few metres away from them. But still he would persist. He always wears his red fleece and a white cap, his beard is always unshaven and flecked with grey. My natural thought process was always “poor guy”; heartbreak and a whole range of emotions bordering on pity. I started buying flowers from him every couple of weeks, hoping that people would see us making the exchange and then follow suit. It hasn’t worked from what I can tell, but still he carries on. 

Every single day that I drive past whether I buy from him or not, I am greeted with thee most incredible smile, a wave and a bow. It almost brings tears to my eyes and he totally makes my day burst with sunshine. Every now and then he throws in a free bunch for me, which I refuse to take – as every bunch has the world in value for him! But he gives them over selflessly, without thinking of the personal consequence. Isn’t this the true value of being a human being? Selflessness? Being free to give without expecting to receive?

The thing that I am most in awe of is his sheer will and determination. If I were to drive up to that intersection now at 7pm, 8pm or even 9pm, I know he would still be standing there armed with his roses. If ever a person were to complain to me about how de-motivated and lazy they felt, I would take them to meet Richard the flower man. In a manner of seconds this man makes it all make sense… and he does it with a smile, a wave and a bow.

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