When I was sixteen years old, I played in a band - not just some garage band, but a real get-paid-to play band.  We played weddings, corporate functions, parties and even nightclubs; to me - it was my life and nothing else mattered.  Again I was 16, I just started driving and my weekends were filled with borrowing vans, station wagons and anything I could fit my equipment in to get to a job or a rehearsal.  My mother made a deal with me, if I delivered her flowers, I could use her van on the weekends.  A 16-year old in the late seventies with a van - well, that's another story.

My very first weekend delivering - by myself, I was tasked with delivering wedding flowers to a bride's home and I could have the vehicle after that.  Well, I made the delivery and went to my job. I didn't get home until almost 2:00am.  When I walked into my home, my mother was standing there, waiting for me.  I thought I was in trouble - I was - but not for the reasons that I thought.  She wasn't mad, she was in a state of anxiety. She wanted to know what the bride thought of her flowers. I told her.  I went in the house and like I watched her do a hundred times, carefully laid out all of the bouquets and corsages and pinned bouttonierres on the men that were there.  The bride loved her flowers, she cried, hugged me and kissed me on the cheek, her father shook my hand and gave me a cash tip and her mother walked me to the door and told me to make sure I told my mom, "Thank You, everything is perfect."  Relief washed over my mother's entire being and I finally understood.  My mother was in the business of selling, purchasing and designing flowers and running a flower shop, but it wasn't what she did for a living: my mom was in the business of making people feel good.  She was in the people business.

What you probably don't understand was that the front door of my house was our family's flower shop.  My childhood chores were sweeping the store, emptying and cleaning flower buckets, selling plants and bunches at the holidays, making deliveries with my mother, etc.  I didn't even take flowers to my dates because I was afraid of being thought of as 'cheap' because my family owned a flower shop.

I didn't pay attention to the importance of flowers in everyday life ...

at least, not until that day. When I decided to officially enter the family business, I made it a point to be my own driver for at least 1 or 2 deliveries a week.  I did it to remind myself what it means for people to receive flowers. To see them smile.

When I first met with GEMS, the very first thing they told me about the company was that GEMS is in the people business and that they wanted to make people feel good.  A great connection!

"If you have two pennies, spend one on bread to give you life, and one on a flower to give meaning to your life."  – Anonymous

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