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'Flowerman' strives to make Comox Valley bloom with positivity

Comox, B.C. -

Although he’s not faster than a speeding bullet, nor more powerful than a locomotive, this superhero of sorts does have a theme song.

Set to folk music, the chorus includes the lyrics, “The Flowerman / The Flowerman / Spreading joy’s his one true plan.”

The Flowerman, who is wearing a hat covered in bright blossoms and a garland of large lilies around his neck, also has an origin story that goes back to when J.D. Ludlow was living a very different life.

“My goal before was to make a lot of money,” J.D. says.

But rather than feeling happy after acquiring the best of everything, he found himself suffering from debilitating depression and anxiety.

“I hit below the bottom,” J.D. says, adding he eventually lost almost everything he’d earned. “I was just at my wits end.”

After being treated successfully in hospital, J.D. left his former life behind and started driving out west in his ‘66 Mustang with a matching yellow camper trailer.

“I didn’t know a soul. No job to come to,” J.D. says. “Nothing.”

But he did have hope. So despite experiencing homeless, J.D. started hanging flower baskets in his convertible and offered the bright blossoms to strangers.

“I had a decal made that said, ‘If you choose to take these flowers, you need more joy,’” J.D. explains, before revealing the rest of the message. “Please pay it forward.”

His actions earned him the nickname "The Flowerman" and he started documenting all the ways people were paying it forward through a Facebook group he created called Comox Valley Social Experiment.

And J.D. found himself transformed.

“Ever since that moment, money doesn’t matter.” J.D. says his drive to acquire material things had disappeared. “I’m happier now than I’ve ever been in my life.”

And then he stared crying grateful tears before saying that he hasn’t experienced a moment of depression or anxiety since becoming The Flowerman.

Which brings us back to that ‘66 Mustang.

Fuelled by a commitment to spread joy wherever he goes, The Flowerman attached a yellow kayak to the top of his convertible, filled it with colourful characters, and christened the car "Lemon-Aid"

“‘Lemon’ because she’s yellow,” J.D. explains. “And ‘Aid’ because I like helping people,”

Every year, he marks the day his mental health recovered by raising thousands of dollars to support the local Transition Society.

In December, The Flowerman transforms Lemon-Aid’s kayak into Santa’s sleigh to inspire the seasonal spirit.

For Valentine's Day, he dresses as Cupid and delivers love to strangers (via flowers, chocolates, and dog treats that are attached to the end of his bow and arrow).

And during winter storms, J.D. (who now works for B.C. Transit) drives volunteer shovelers around town to help people stuck in the snow.

“I just want people to be as happy as I am,” J.D. says. “If I can put a smile on someone’s face, I’ve done my job.” Top Stories

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