Longtime B/A Florist Customer Surprises Stranger with Heartfelt Delivery

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Monday, March 2, 2020, 3:30 pm
Sarah Spohn

East Lansing City Clerk Jennifer Shuster received a large rose arrangement on Feb. 24, hand-delivered by her husband. Only he wasn’t the one who purchased the flowers; he did, however, write an amazing love letter. (Photos by Gary Caldwell)

Receiving flowers can be a romantic gesture, a thoughtful notion, or out of sympathy. Regardless of the occasion, most flower deliveries come from someone close to the recipient. For an unsuspecting East Lansing City Clerk, a floral delivery that showed up to her work last week came from a complete stranger.

Despite having no connection between the purchaser and receiver, the story behind this flowery delivery is definitely a sentimental one.

East Lansing City Clerk Jennifer Shuster received a large rose arrangement on Monday, Feb. 24, hand-delivered by her husband. He wasn’t the one who purchased the flowers, however.

B/A Florist Owner Laurie Van Ark spoke about how the surprise delivery is part of a truly heartwarming story. The story stems from a longtime customer (who wishes to remain anonymous) who regularly bought his wife flowers from B/A.

“He’s been a customer of ours for a very long time, and they’re the kindest family,” Van Ark said. “Each year, he would come in around the beginning of February, and order his wife a rose for each year they had been married, plus another one of another color to represent the next year. Two years ago, his wife passed away from pancreatic cancer.”

Tray and Jennifer Shuster with the roses purchased by a longtime customer of B/A Florist in memory of his late wife.

The customer continues to purchase the rose arrangement, in honor of his late wife, whose favorite flowers were sweetness roses. This year, Laurie suggested something a little different in terms of delivery.

“I said, ‘What if we put it out there to the community, if people would like to write in about a meaningful relationship, or someone they feel would really deserve them, and see what kind of response we can get.’ That’s what we did — we put it on our Facebook page, and our Instagram, and we invited people to write in.”

He and his daughter read the entries, and chose a winner — an entry written by Tray detailing his 20-year love story with his soulmate, Jennifer Shuster. “Last Monday, we presented her with a very lovely 42+1 rose arrangement, which was absolutely beautiful, and very large,” Van Ark said.

Tray's letter and the story behind the anonymous purchase moved Jennifer to tears.

It was the size of the arrangement that surprised the recipient, but the story behind them that really stunned her.

“When I first saw the large arrangement of beautiful roses, I was beyond surprised,” Shuster said. “I immediately hugged and kissed my husband!”

Once she learned of the regular customer’s late wife, and that the delivery was a symbol of their undying love story, she felt touched.

“It was very emotional for me, and my eyes welled up with tears,” Shuster said. “True love stories like theirs have always been an inspiration to us, and to know that our love story touched this grieving husband was overwhelming.”

Though he wishes to remain anonymous, the story of his wife, their love, and passing kindness forward has already touched many lives. Shuster wishes to thank the stranger who brightened her day.

“I would like him to know that I am grateful for the beautiful flowers for several reasons, but most importantly — it forced me to slow down during my busy life, and think about the life of a woman I never knew, who has now inspired me to be the best wife and mother I can be,” she said. “She left a legacy that continues to nurture, and I cannot think of anything more inspirational when it comes to true love.”

There’s already been talks at B/A Florist of making this surprise delivery a yearly tradition. Van Ark is happy that despite the sadness and grief, that this is a true love story – one that continues on.

“It’s nice to see that there’s some positive feelings coming out of it — it’s very painful for him,” she said. “It’s the kind of relationship we all would like to have, and not everybody does.”

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