‘Thanks a bunch’: florist pays it forward

Pule's daughter Lupe at Riverside Florist, which has been bestowing free flowers. 248550_02 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

An “angel of flowers” has brought a little sunshine into people’s lives in Keysborough.

Pule Sola Rimoni has earned the title for her generous deeds such as setting up a stall of free bouquets outside her Riverside Florist store on Tuesday 24 August.

“I believe flowers can brighten up a person’s day, bring a smile to a person’s face.”

During Covid lockdown, Ms Sola Rimoni has donated flowers to aged care homes, hospitals, homelessness services and medical centres.

It’s a dedication to residents and “frontline” staff doing the “hard yards”, she says.

At nursing homes, locked-in residents wave at her through the windows as she arrives. It gives her a warm glow.

“I just wish I could give them a hug.”

Recently, she delivered a surprise gift to a stranger on Facebook who was “doing it hard”.

The good turn came to be a “blessing” for Ms Sola Rimoni as she befriended a lovely woman who just needed someone to talk to.

“If I wasn’t giving these flowers for free, I wouldn’t have met this person.”

She says in turn Keysborough has helped her fledgling eight-month business in Chandler Road during the pandemic.

Customers have been tipping in an extra $5, $10 or $20 during the contactless pick-ups and deliveries. Others buying up big orders of up to 200 bouquets.

“I can’t really complain.

“Before I open the door each day, I need to stay positive and never allow negativity. I’m grateful for the next thing I do.”

The former call-centre team leader and perhaps the only Samoan-Australian florist in Melbourne says she has never been so satisfied with work.

“With flowers, I feel alive. It gives me the joy to carry on each day and I put a lot of love into it.

“It’s like my calling.”