Monday, May 14, 2012

Delivering Love and Smiles

Did you order flowers to be delivered to your mom or grandma for Mother's Day? If so, you were among the 25% of all American adults who did so. As a nation, we spent $1.9 billion for those Mother's Day florals!

Suppose your mother lives several states away and you knew you wouldn't be able to see her for Mother's Day. You thought about how you'd like to show her your love and you decided flowers delivered to her door would brighten her day. So you picked up the phone or went online and ordered something that you knew she'd like. You sat back and smiled, imaging her expression when her flowers would arrive.

You did you part. But how did those flowers actually get to your mom?

My friends David and Stacy Boulton are the owners of Flowers by George in Arlington. Like other florists, Christmas (the whole month), Mother's Day (in florist language, Mother's Week) and Valentines Day are their busiest times of the year. They need help to get the orders out. So they call in the troops! With a few extra hands helping with the arrangements, they set to work, filling a semi-trailer with all their orders. Mind you, they have to put all florals in the trailer very systematically because eventually they will be unloading the trailer and loading up several vans to send them out on delivery routes.

On Friday and Saturday before Mother's Day they bring in five or six extra vans and fill them with flowers. Then the fun begins.

For the past 16 years, my brother-in-law Allen has been one of the drivers for David and Stacy's Valentines and Mother's Day deliveries. This year my sister Peach joined him. For six hours a day they drove their route, stopping by peoples' homes to drop off a little love.

Each arrangement or plant is in its own box or crate with an address card attached. When the van is empty, the job is complete. In those two days, Allen and Peach made 42 deliveries.

Most people are thrilled to get flowers. On Valentine's Day, one woman was giddy with excitement when they arrived at her door. "I wonder who could have sent me flowers!" she gushed as her husband, behind her, shook his head and said, "It was me!"

Nobody refused the flowers (although that does happen occasionally). Most of the folks were home to receive the deliveries, but nobody answered at the house with the barbed wire on top of the chain link fence and the warning sign about pit bulls. Otherwise the assignment was relatively uneventful.

When I asked Allen why he's done this for 16 years, he answered, "It's just really fun to make people smile."

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