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February 17, 2021

It’s three days after Valentine’s Day. Spring flowers are blooming, warmth is in the air -- and hearts are wide open.

Because our favorite sushi restaurant in downtown Los Angeles is closed on Sundays, we decided to celebrate the holiday with sushi take-out a day ahead. I volunteered to make the trek to Sushi Gen, a modest family-owned gem hidden in a mini-mall in Little Tokyo.

When I got off the 210 Freeway to work my way to the 110 Freeway to downtown, I saw a man and a woman standing on two corners of the freeway exit in Pasadena selling armloads of fresh Valentine bouquets. It would be dark soon, and I happened to have cash in my wallet. I wanted to buy all of their flowers. But a green light and a line of cars kept me moving. If they are still there on my return home, I said to myself, I will buy what flowers they have left.

But they were not there.

Yesterday, Louie was speaking to our friend Jackie on his cell phone with the speaker on. She shared the lovely Valentine’s Day she had with her daughter, Tania, who had torn her hard-working mom away from her desk to spend quiet mother-daughter time together at a secluded beach. So lovely, I thought, as I continued eavesdropping.

Then Jackie shared an unexpected event while at the gas station filling up before leaving on their outing.

They saw a woman and a young boy with a cartful of Valentine’s Day flowers to sell. It was cold and Jackie wouldn’t have it. In an instant she had Tania pull $250 from the ATM. They approached the lady to let her know they wished to buy all of the flowers. “You should be enjoying Valentine’s Day!” Jackie said as the sweet lady stood speechless.

“Jackie!” I chimed in. “You picked up where I left off…I wanted to do the same thing yesterday but couldn’t because I was at a freeway off-ramp.” Then I asked her what she did with all of the flowers (20 bouquets).

They drove to the parking lots at Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Ralph’s – even the park where Tania used to play soccer – and randomly offered other women the beautiful flowers, wishing them “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Leaving them speechless.

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