ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Do you want a flower?
Simple words from a stay-at-home mother that brought smiles to those walking near the Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester on Thursday.
Bridget Strub, 34, of Henrietta gave away red, yellow and orange roses — paid for with money received as a birthday present — to strangers, families and even city of Rochester workers.
Her two young children, Tessa, 4, and Silas, 2, were there to watch as mom looked those passing by in the eye, handed them a flower, if they wanted, and shared a friendly exchange.
A sandwich board reading, "You are important, valued, matter (and) loved" clued those in to her plans.
"I just have been seeing all the hate," she said. "I just wanted to spread some love, that's all. Flowers are pretty and they make people smile."
She said the idea popped into her head while driving in the family’s minivan with their children. It was Tessa who said that she should pass out 100 flowers. They were at the Rochester Public Market with friends on Election Day, doing the same.
“I felt like I couldn’t do anything when I saw people these last few months being hurt, crying out with the election and everybody just being unkind to each other," Strub said.
"We’ve got to move forward if we are going to solve anything."
This despite an election that she says left her "heartbroken" after Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump.
"I feel lots of things and I didn’t know what else to do other than just hand out flowers and smile," Strub said. "As a stay-at-home, I can't really go out and I’m not going to make big speeches and I’m not a blogger or anything. ... I just wanted to bring some light and bring some sunshine to people."
Donald Dedie, a Rochester artist, received one of the flowers.
"The world needs more color like this,” he said. “God is the ultimate artist and I just look at the different colors and tones and, yeah, ‘I think the world needs more of that.' There is too much ugliness going on in the world. If we could just try to get along, it would be a lot better."
Strub is unsure if she will hand out flowers again.
"I would like to keep doing this," she said. "Well, winter is coming."