Schoolteacher Amy Baird was having a rough day. It was early in 2020 and the COVID-19 school closings meant her classes had gone from in-person to online. Learning how to teach remotely and helping her students with the difficult transition while struggling to adapt herself was wearing on her. She had also begun teaching her own children at home, adding a new level of stress.
As she drove home, the sky was overcast and dreary. In her hometown of Spanish Fork, Utah, she spotted a bright, colorful garden of tulips. The singular beauty of the tulips snapped her out of her negativity and gave her a feeling of peace and hope. At that moment she decided to reach out to the person who had planted the flowers to let them know that she was grateful.
It was a simple greeting card that displayed the message: “What you do matters.” Inside the card, Amy included a personal message, sharing the hope she received from seeing the tulips. She didn’t know it, but the recipient of that letter would soon become her friend.
Marjan Curtis was a widow, living alone. She and her husband used to plant tulips every year as an homage to her time growing up in the Netherlands. Marjan had fond memories of playing with her friends in fields of tulips. After the passing of her husband, she continued the tradition of planting tulips every year, remembering her childhood and remembering her life with her late husband.
When she received Amy’s letter, she was deeply moved. Marjan was still getting used to life alone and hadn’t considered her flowers could have an impact on anyone else. She responded to Amy’s letter and then they exchanged phone numbers.
Marjan shared with Amy the history of her tulips and her current struggle with kidney cancer over text. Amy checked up on Marjan daily, asking how she was doing, or if she needed anything.
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As the year wore on, Amy (39) and Marjan (79) became close. When it came time to plant tulips again, Marjan was unable to plant on her own due to her health condition. Amy and her book club decided to step up and help Marjan prepare the garden.
“For them to care that much is unbelievable,” Marjan told the TODAY Show, “All I did was plant flowers!”
Amy’s book club returned to drop off treats for Marjan and adorned her yard with Christmas decorations. Today, Marjan’s tulip garden is in full bloom, a colorful reminder of the hope and friendship she found with Amy.
You never know when a kind word, a smile, or even a flower can make a big difference in someone’s life. For Amy and Marjan, they discovered hope and friendship in each other, all thanks to Marjan’s simple act of remembrance. Now, the tulips hold even deeper meaning, stretching across a lifetime of meaningful relationships.