A Dundee businessman is spreading cheer and kindness with free flowers outside his premises.
John Alexander, who runs a painting and decorating business, has been overwhelmed by the response to his initiative.
He has put out hundreds of bouquets since starting in the first lockdown.
Now he is urging people to do something to make others smile.
“Everyone’s quite down at the moment – you watch the news and it’s all doom and gloom,” he said.
“But if people go for a walk and see the flowers maybe they’ll think there are nice things happening.
“The reaction has been great. The smaller things in life can change our whole mood.
“In these times of uncertainty, I think we should all do something to put a smile on someone else’s face.”
What you give, you get back
As well as running Alexander Decorators Ltd on Fairfield Street, John launched a charity last year.
Alexander Community Development (ACD) introduces young people to trades and encourages older workers to pass on their skills.
He said something he teaches and lives by is the “law of attraction”.
“What you give, you get back,” he explained.
“It’s something I teach schoolkids on the courses when I talk about mindset.
“I say I’ll prove it to them. I ask them to thank their mum or offer to do the dishes after tea.
“Nine times out of 10 they can’t believe the response they get and how happy their mum is.”
Flowers cheered me up
The businessman said a card he received last week addressed “to whoever puts out the flowers” put him in a positive frame of mind.
Inside the card it read: “I’ve often passed and seen the flowers but have never taken any.
“Yesterday I was feeling a bit down and when I saw them I thought – why not!
“They are lovely and cheered me up.
“And these are not just flowers… these are M&S flowers!”
It’s not the first heart-warming note John’s received.
He recalled another time he was locking up and saw two elderly ladies chatting outside his premises.
There were two bunches of flowers left and he said they had been waiting for them.
“One of the ladies wrote a note to say it was the first time she’d been out of the house for many weeks as she has been shielding,” he said.
“She said she’d been so pleased to see her friend after so long and the flowers had made her day.
“It’s notes like that also put a smile on my face and puts my day on the right footing.”
Help for foodbanks
During the pandemic the attention of ACD turned to helping local foodbanks.
Its team now collect and store essential household items. The goods are then packaged and distributed to the larders in an effort to ease the strain on local volunteers.
ACD works closely with Faith in Community and Dundee City Council to service the Food Insecurity Network, ensuring more than £10,000 worth of food is delivered to 27 city projects each week.
Many of the flowers are donated from M&S who are one of the retailers supporting the foodbank initiative.
John has also been busy handing out flowers to people who volunteer at foodbanks.
“Sometimes they don’t think about their own mental health because they are so focused on helping others,” he said.
“The flowers cheers everybody up. My wife has joked a few times that I need to stop giving other women flowers!”
In May, John also arranged for a mural praising the NHS to be painted on his premises by local artist Paco Graff.
It shows Captain America exploding through the building with NHS written on his shield.