Bryan Haeffele photos
Wilton resident Jane Minion had grown up hearing the old adage about stopping to smell the roses, so her instinct was running very strong the morning of Sept. 22 when she spotted a shopping cart full of more than 100 purple roses outside the Village Market.

She wondered what a shopping cart full of roses was doing in the parking lot to begin with.

“These are beautiful, look at the heads on them,” said Minion, who was taking her little dog, Mr. Johnny B. Goode, for a morning stroll.

“Where are they from?” she asked, unaware the police officer with the yellow safety vest on who was standing by the cart, Capt. Robert Cipolla, was just about to give her one of the long-stemmed roses in honor of the seventh annual Wilton Chamber of Commerce Random Acts of Kindness day.

Debra Hanson, executive director of the Chamber, was standing next to Cipolla and explained to Minion that her random act of walking up and being friendly and smiling had earned her the very first flower of the day. The roses were a gift from the Village Market, she said.

Minion took a deep whiff from the petals and even kissed them.

“I’m going to put this right in water,” she said, and asked what was the significance of the color purple.

Hanson explained that this year there is a new aspect to Random Acts of Kindness day, which will benefit the Domestic Violence Crisis Center on Oct. 16. That is the first day of the Chamber’s annual Restaurant Week, which is intended to draw extra business to the restaurants in town, and it has been designated by the Chamber as Wilton Cares Day.

“So our roses are purple this year,” Hanson said.

Cipolla and a couple of police officers, including Officer Brandon Harris, handed them out at the intersection in front of the Village Market, between 10 and 11. The drivers-by did not have to do anything particular to earn their rose. It was more an act of kindness on the part of the police officers to give them one.

“It’s our act of kindness, I guess, to interact with the public this way,” said Harris.

It was a sunny, mild morning, the first day of fall actually, and it was Friday. Everyone smiled easily.

“People are so busy rushing around doing what they do. It’s nice to have an act of kindness. It makes everyone work well together,” Hanson said.

That is exactly the feeling of the Wilton community, said Sarah Heath, the town’s social services director, who keeps an eye of the domestic violence programs.

“Wilton is a town where there’s a strong sense of community working together,” she said.