Unsuspecting residents surprised with flowers on Petal It Forward Day
Florist, Spring Dell Center join up to spread joy
A local florist shop had some help from a nonprofit agency to donate 150 beautiful bouquets of flowers to unsuspecting people in Charles County.
On Oct. 19, two local businesses — Country Florist of Waldorf and Spring Dell Center Inc. in La Plata, which assists individuals with disabilities — teamed up to spread flower power during National Petal It Forward Day. They presented bouquets at Wawa, Walmart and Panera Bread in La Plata, as well as Wawa in White Plains and Panera Bread in Waldorf.
Many have heard the phrase “pay it forward,” but not many know about “Petal It Forward.” According to Lorrie Anderson, owner of Country Florist, the campaign was started by the Society of American Florists and includes many floral companies around the nation. The day is an effort to spread a bit of cheer by utilizing the same random “pay it forward” concept.
“Flowers brighten people’s day,” Anderson said. “You notice tice that the people are so appreciative, they give you hugs, some of them cry, so it’s a great thing to do to make people feel better. It was beautiful having the Spring Dell Center here helping because we like to support the community, so it was a nice joint effort.”
Anderson said it is a costly investment for her business, but it is worth it.
Randomly- selected people at the locations received two bouquets each. Recipients were encouraged to keep one and pass along the other in an effort to make someone else’s day brighter.
“Both Country Florist and Spring Dell are a part of the Southern Maryland Business Network and we knew Country Florist was concerned about how to deliver the flowers on National Petal it Forward Day,” said Sheebah Smith, Spring Dell Center director of marketing and development. “At Spring Dell, we have nothing but manpower, so we teamed up to make sure that we could assist them in making deliveries, meeting the people and giving away flowers. Our Hooks & Hangers staff helped give out flowers and coupons as well.”
“We love collaborating with local businesses,” said Donna Retzlaff, executive director of the Spring Dell Center. “These partnerships allow us to share, with the people we support, how to give back and be a part of the community. When Lorrie announced her floral company was doing this, I was so excited to see if we could join her. I just knew many of the people supported by Spring Dell would love to share in the excitement created by the Petal It Forward idea. It provided smiles for those receiving and giving flowers. We could not have asked for a better way to spend our day.”
Adam Weschler, Country Florist driver, said the staff saw so many grins and people were so happy at the sight of the colorful bouquets.
“If it touches one person, then you’ve done enough,” Weschler said. “It’s good for them to know that someone is thinking about you and we had fun doing it.”
Several people who made a quick stop at the Wawa in White Plains were very emotional about receiving flowers. Brandywine resident Fannie Zee, who was seen leaving the Wawa, said she was not expecting to receive a bouquet of flowers — but it truly made her day.
“I felt really special,” said Bowie resident, Monica Coggins. “My first thought was, ‘ What’s the catch?’ But I love flowers and I really appreciate this. It was so sweet. They gave me two beautiful bouquets so now I’m going to bless somebody else with the second one.”
“It was a very nice surprise,” said Jasmine Haynes, a Hyattsville resident. “I was definitely not expecting one [ and] especially not two bouquets of flowers, and not for free. Minus the sticker, I had no idea it was National Petal it Forward Day, but I think it’s a really great thing to do and a good cause.”
A few residents leaving the Panera Bread in Waldorf were caught off guard but pleasantly surprised about receiving their bouquets.
“I had no idea what was going on and then they told me it was free and I got a coupon,” said John Swann of Nanjemoy. “I love cut flowers. I always buy them and put them in my house. Today I’m going to give the extra flowers to my daughter.”
Evelyn Bradshaw of Clinton said she was truly surprised by the act of kindness and will “Petal It Forward” to her “wonderful” sister- in- law.
“I love this and I’ve been looking for flower shops in Waldorf for a very long time,” said Waldorf resident Mya Westray. “I thought I would have to pay for them and I was so shocked. I will be buying some flowers from Country Florist from now on and I will give both of these bouquets away to my mom and my older cousin because they are the role models in my life.”
Anderson said National Petal It Forward Day was a success in Charles County, and she hopes to continue to bring smiles to the faces of local residents through the beauty of flowers.
Spring Dell Center volunteer Rosalie Hawkins gave flowers to Wawa employee Inez Early at the Wawa in White Plains on Oct. 19.
Spring Dell Center staff member Alice King gave flowers to Hyattsville resident Jasmine Haynes at the Wawa in White Plains on Oct. 19, in honor of National Petal it Forward Day.
Country Florist’s driver Adam Weschler presents flowers to Bowie resident Monica Coggins at the Wawa in White Plains on Oct. 19, in honor of National Petal it Forward Day.
Nanjemoy resident John Swann received two bouquets of flowers at the Panera Bread in Waldorf on Oct. 19, one of which he planned to present to his daughter.
Waldorf resident Mya Westray received two bouquets of flowers at the Panera Bread in Waldorf. “I will give both of these bouquets away to my mom and my older cousin because they are the role models in my life,” she said.