Volunteers deliver flowers, smiles to patients at Downers Grove hospital
Phil and Mary Sauer already had welcomed one gift when another arrived.
Mary gave birth to the couple's first child, Edward, on Monday at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove. By Wednesday morning, the Sauers were ready to take their newborn son home to Brookfield.
Then Nicole Bernas, who works for the floral delivery company Florists' Transworld Delivery Inc., or FTD, walked into the hospital room with a bouquet of flowers. She handed the arrangement of green, yellow, purple and white chrysanthemums to Mary, who was all smiles as she stood holding her baby.
"Thank you so much," Mary said. "That's so sweet."
She already knows where she's going to put them: in their son's nursery.
Phil added: "I'm really happy they did this. This is an amazing send-off -- a great experience ending with another great experience."
Similar scenes played out around Good Samaritan as volunteers from FTD delivered more than 500 bouquets to patients and hospital employees. The flowers were donated by FTD and one of its growers -- Galleria Farms -- as a part of the national Petal It Forward effort.
Research shows that more than 80 percent of Americans say giving and receiving flowers makes them feel happy, officials said.
In that spirit, florists across the country surprised people with bouquets Wednesday as a part of a random-acts-of-kindness effort spearheaded by the Society of American Florists.
"It's all in the name of just making people happy," said Emily Bucholz, a FTD spokeswoman.
Bucholz and 11 other volunteers from the company's Downers Grove headquarters wore green T-shirts as they walked the hospital's halls with a cart of flowers.
Patient Donna Ring was in bed when Bucholz arrived with a bouquet.
"They're beautiful," the Oak Brook resident said as she smelled the flowers.
"It does brighten up your whole day. All of a sudden, you're thinking, 'Hey, it's not so bad. Things are going to be OK.'"
Teresa Barnes, one of the FTD employees, said she felt lucky to distribute flowers at the hospital and "to put smiles on people's faces."
Bernas agreed that giving people bright bouquets is a lot of fun.
"I've worked in hospitals before," Bernas said. "I've worked in flower shops before. So I'm loving this."
What is it about flowers that makes getting them special?
"I think it's a little bit of the element of surprise," Bernas said. "You feel like you're appreciated and you're thought of. It's always a happy event."
Meg and Jim Cotiguala of Downers Grove said their newborn daughter, Rose, will someday know about the bouquet that arrived on the day she left the hospital.
They're planning to put the flowers in a scrapbook.
"We're about to leave to get checked out," Jim said. "So it's a nice going-away present."