By Olivia Loggia & Chanel Shum
Each day, we pass by hundreds of strangers without ever interacting with them. These people live vivid and intricate lives, in which we might only appear for a moment.
But what would happen if we walked up to those strangers and engaged with them? During our trip to downtown Westfield, Hi’s Eye selected individuals at random, handed them a bouquet of tulips, and then conversed with them while taking their photo.
We handed our first bouquet to Janet Burchett, who was sitting in Panera Bread with her newspaper and coffee. When she realized we weren’t looking for anything in return, she said: “This is just a random act of kindness? How nice! And now I’ll have to pass the kindness on; we’ll see how far it goes.”
Brandon Leonard was leaning against the wall outside Panera, looking at his phone, when we walked up to him. It wasn’t until after we took his picture that he realized we were giving him the flowers to keep. He was surprised and said, “I’m not sure why you picked me...but thank you, I guess.”
As soon as we handed Rosie Toriello the tulips, she clutched them close to her chest, smiling shyly. Her mom said, “Thank you, but are you sure you don’t want to give these flowers to somebody else?”
We gave our last bouquet of tulips to our waitress at Vicki’s Diner, Yshell Narvaez. Narvaez was beaming as soon as we handed them to her and said: “It was my birthday yesterday. I’m gonna show my family in Peru that I’m in the newspaper! You made my day, guys.”