The man with the flowers

Strangers are pleasantly surprised by King's generous offer. Photo by Mary Jenkins

Strangers are pleasantly surprised by King’s generous offer. Photo by Mary Jenkins

BERKELEY, Calif.  — The bustling streets of Berkeley were filled with people busy with their own agendas;  few stopped long enough to notice the man with the basket of flowers. It was a day ordinary as any other, but Tim King decided it was his duty to pass out beautiful flowers to the strangers on the street. He first appeared as though another street vendor, but at a second glance you could see that he was giving flowers away, not selling them.

“If I’m not going to do it, who will?” King said. He handed out flowers one day last week, and after declaring it a success, decided to buy roses and sunflowers from a local grocery store and head to the corner once again.

Although many people accepted King’s flowers, some rejected his offer. “Interesting emotions come up in me when people say ‘no’ to my flowers,” said King. He explained that rejection is not something anyone handles particularly well, but that one smile is worth more than any number of no’s.

“You turn on the news these days, and there’s so much nasty stuff going on. There’s so much bad in our world, someone just needs to pass out flowers,” King said. He said the little things in life are so important, and that if he stepped up with this small gesture of kindness, he thought other people would follow. As another example of using the little things to make a difference, outside his home King sets out homegrown vegetables for neighbors to freely take.

“I just want to spread some cheer, and to make people smile,” he said.