Carrie Schmitt was questioning love.
On a broader scale, she was questioning “goodness and kindness in a sometimes harsh and heartbreaking world.” Her heart was hardening and she was becoming cynical.
Then the self-described romantic bought herself a rose and skipped out of the store with a smile on her face.
And she noticed passers-by smiled at her rose, too.
Then she realized that “everybody needs a rose.”
The Sammamish resident had been waiting for her “true love” to bring her a rose like her grandfather did every month for her grandmother.
Turns out, she said, she’s supposed to give the roses, not receive them.
Now, Schmitt, of Sammamish, is on a mission to give at least one stranger a rose every day for a year. In return, all she hopes for is a story.
“To me that’s how we connect to one another, through our stories,” she said.
It can be any story, though she aims to collect those related to love, magic, mystery, soul, spirit, serendipity or roses.
Sometimes her roses provoke special memories — one single mother told Schmitt the rose reminded her of her son, who would give her a rose every Father’s Day. Recently she gave a rose to a woman who had just found out she was pregnant, a good sign for the new life, they thought.
“We have those really cool moments,” she said. “These stories give me chills.”
Sometimes it simply sparks a conversation, like it did on May 12 when Schmitt wondered through Pine Lake Park handing out roses to fishermen, city of Sammamish parks crew members, a Sammamish police officer and students wandering over after having just got out of school.
Schmitt’s mission, which she’s calling “A Single Rose Project,” aims to keep love and goodness alive in a harsh world. It was inspired by her grandparents.
Schmitt has given roses out every day for more than 30 days. She said she can’t wait to give out her rose, though sometimes she gets nervous and worries people will find her weird.
But she’s found that most people are pleasantly surprised and willing to share a peice of themselves with her.
“This is important for me to do,” she said.
The project is a way to soften people and to show them that there’s still goodness in the world.