Un­sus­pect­ing res­i­dents sur­prised with flow­ers on Pe­tal It For­ward Day

Florist, Spring Dell Cen­ter join up to spread joy

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com

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.

STAFF PHOTOS BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

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.

STAFF PHOTOS BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

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.

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