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Hope, One Flower At A Time

Dayna Montaina's Simple Gesture Of Kindness Lifts Her Community's Spirit

Article by Don Seaman

Photography by Phillip Barone

Originally published in Wayne Lifestyle

Dayna Montaina was isolated, as we all were, during the throes of Covid’s lockdown. She’d been told that her business was nonessential, so coming to grips with that didn’t sit well with her. But she stuck by it, for a time.

But Dayna’s business was unique. Her store’s inventory would wither and die without her. She’s a florist and had her entire supply would likely be worthless with an extended shutdown.

So instead of going to work, she went to work. She found herself in possession of hundreds, if not thousands, of potential joy inspiring vehicles – roses, daisies, daffodils, and so many more –all at her disposal. But instead of simply disposing of them, she put them to work.

“Our business may not have been essential, but the message that they send was absolutely essential,” according to Dayna.

She began delivering them. Unprompted. She’d take a flower, tie a note of encouragement to it, and leave it on someone’s doorstep. Fifty or so at a time, going through a Wayne neighborhood like Johnny Appleseed, spreading human kindness to homes when we were so desperate for connection.

Suddenly, the isolation wasn’t quite so terrible.

Her random act of generosity helped to lift spirits. She’d get calls and shoutouts on social media of gratitude, so many that she began to post updates about where she’d been that day. She wasn’t simply leaving flowers anymore – she was delivering sunshine to people again when their lives had grown unbearably dark.

“It really hit home for me around Mother’s Day,” Dayna explains. “I realized that people no longer had any way of doing what was such a tradition – you see your mom. Now they just couldn’t. Flowers might be their only physical way of connecting with her. It reinforced just how much value what we were doing had in people’s lives.”

“Funerals were even harder. It’s such a natural thing to need to see people in times of grief and sorrow, but it was impossible. How do you get through that without being together? So it became the point that flowers were almost the only way to tell people that you’re with them in spirit, that they’re on your mind. To me, what we could do for people absolutely was essential.”

Her free surprises kept going. It gave her joy, to be doing something connective again. It helped restore her as much as it did her community.

Author Kelley Harrell once said, “We don’t heal in isolation, but in community.” Dayna found what she could do during an unprecedented situation to help her community heal.

Sometimes, a rose isn’t just a rose. The simplest of gestures can mean everything.

Dayna’s Blooms of Wayne shop has a saying, that they provide uniqueness in everything they do. In her decades of experience, there may be no better example of that than giving everything she had away.

Flowers are a symbol of life, of rebirth. When people needed it most, Dayna gave them hope.

Blooms of Wayne can be found at 2075 Hamburg Turnpike in Wayne.

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