PORTSMOUTH — The heat this summer has been overwhelming this year, but one man took the time to stand out in the heat to make others smile.
Chris Cooley from Portsmouth took a taxi on his birthday to the Portsmouth Kroger, purchased many flowers, and then stood outside and passed flowers out to random people to spread kindness and love.
“I try to spread positivity and love to our community because the community can use positivity and encouragement,” Coley said. “I decorated my house with rainbows and different things just to inspire people. I was at Kroger passing out flowers just to cheer people up. I had a lot of people saying, ‘we love your house and how inspiring it is. We don’t want you to take it down.”
Cooley, who is visually impaired, shared he has displayed bright colors on his home to celebrate the community and bring love to the community.
“It’s because I like it and because I’m trying to encourage people not to think about Pride so much but think about what the word Pride really means, which to me means to love and caring for each other, helping each other, being a strong community,” Cooley said. “I tell people the rainbow in my yard means life on earth and means a promise. I have a big flag up that says, ‘Love is Love,’ and it is all rainbow. If we share the bright colors, our love will trickle down to others that may need that love with just that little bit of color.”
Cooley shared that he spent more than $250 at Kroger’s that day, buying dozens of roses to tulips to everything they had. He stood outside in the heat for four hours. He said that he had people tell him he made their day and brightened up their day. He said that he wore the colored mask and his colored wings to put color into his life and share the colors. He had some older men who wanted to take a flower to their wives.
“It was so interesting and so much fun that I had to go back in and buy more flowers,” Cooley said. “Some of the ladies said they didn’t want a flower. They didn’t have any money, I said just take it and just give me that smile and you can have a flower.”
Cooley said that he had one lady who said it was her birthday and that it was her favorite color of flower and he just gave her the bundle. He had a whole bunch of Skittles that he was passing out also and had a whole bunch of Skittles left and he didn’t want to take them home with him because he bought them to bless people.
When he took the taxi home, he talked to the driver and asked them if they wanted to help him bless people. So he told the driver that every time they picked someone up, give them a box of Skittles. He said another lady said that he inspired her to take some flowers back to her mom and he said that is what it was all about.
“It’s time to start showing love, peace and something good to encourage folks it okay to go out and do something,” Cooley said.
Not only did Cooley do this for total strangers, but he also, on June 26th, had a pot luck dinner in his own backyard and he said that he did that because he sees a need to bring the community together.
“I was scared to buy all those flowers because I didn’t know what the reaction would be and I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. I said to myself, today is my birthday and I’m gonna do it just because it was my birthday week,” Cooley said.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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