Folks line up for free roses on "Good Neighbor Day" - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Folks line up for free roses on "Good Neighbor Day"

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By Monica Hernandez - bio | email | twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Wednesday wasn't just any day at the office for Jesse Thompson.

"Take 5 minutes, come back, and make a lot of people smile," said Thompson.

Every year, on the first Wednesday in September, the director of environmental assistance at the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality passes out roses to co-workers like Karen Stephens.  

"It's extra special when it comes from good friends you've worked with over the years," said Stephens.

And Thompson's not the only one; he's one of millions worldwide who celebrate "Good Neighbor Day." 

It all started back in 1994 at Greenbrook Flowers in Jackson, which gives away free roses by the dozen every year to mark the day. The idea is that you keep one, and give 11 to friends and neighbors.

"My dad started it, Brook Jacobs," said Gwen Colella, manager of Greenbrook Flowers. "He passed away two years ago, so we're keeping up the tradition."

It's a tradition, that's now celebrated throughout the U.S. and in six different countries.

"This really is a testament to the spirit, if you will, of our city," said Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson.

Every year, people line up outside Greenbrook before the doors open, waiting to receive roses so they can spread joy in the community. Pasty Johnson was first in line.

"There's so much love behind a rose. I always say, give me my flowers now, while I'm alive," said Johnson.

"It's symbolic. And it's very important for someone to come by and take the time to say, here is something, I appreciate you," said Thompson.

Greenbrook expects to give away 30,000 roses throughout the day. All are free, but Greenbrook is accepting donations for Blair E Batson Children's Hospital.

Last year, 20 million free roses were given out worldwide during the event. If 30 million are given out, the event will rival Valentine's Day.

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