Red Roses And Free Hugs: Valentine's Day In Athens

By
Merle Tilk

Dateline
Updated Mon, Feb 17, 2014 11:01 am

With flowers, chocolates or cards people want to make their loved ones happy on Valentine's Day. Often these gifts should be a surprise. On Friday, delivery driver Terry Cullison had the chance to surprise many people.

"It's just fun to do, fun to see smiles," Cullison said.

For a few years he has been delivering flowers for the Athens flower shop, Hyacinth Bean Florist. The owner, Polly Creech, had begun preparing for Valentine's Day already six weeks ago. She ordered over 1,000 roses, which is 10 times more than she usually sells in a week.

"For the flower business Valentine's Day is the busiest day of the year," Creech explained.

It would not only important to please all the customers but the day would also have a huge impact financially. Her sales increased by 100 percent that Friday.

For Creech the days before Valentine's Day already had been long days to get all the deliveries ready. But on Valentine's Day she wanted to stay open as long as people would come in.

"I handle it for a while and then I get a little overwhelmed. Then I take a deep breath and think: Ok, I got through these 10 years before so I can get through it this day too," she explained.

She whished more people would order ahead of time.

"That would help me to get everything on time and have everyone be happy."

In all these years working as a florist Creech has not seen the classic Valentine's Day gift changing: Red roses. But also daisies, lillies and carnations were popular this year and Creech sent Cullison out to deliver even teddy bears and food baskets.

"Whatever they want to order online or at the store we deliver it," Cullison explained. 

While Creech hired six people to give her a hand that day a group of 15 students gathered in front of Baker Center. Their creative mission was giving people free hugs. Ryant Taylor, a Ohio University student, hatched the idea.

"It's a great way to feel closer to someone," he said and proudly presented a list of 148 people he already hugged. A rose would be great, he acknowledged. "But I think there's something in just holding a person."

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