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.”