MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Tuesday was the busiest day of the year for florists everywhere as they worked to fill a slew of Valentine's Day orders. In Manhattan, happy customers might not have realized it but many received bouquets from some dependable deliverymen and women.
Darren Ivey, a Manhattan firefighter, spent his day off on Valentine’s Day surrounded by beautiful bouquets.
For Darren and Dusti, his wife of 21 years, it’s become a tradition on February 14th for them to make deliveries for Steve’s Floral in downtown Manhattan.
"We started around eight o’clock this morning loading up the van and we’ll probably be here until 4:30 or 5:00. We make about five trips to Steve’s Floral and we deliver hundreds of flowers. I love it. It’s a great way to spend Valentine’s Day. I get to spend time with my husband and we get to bring joy to people. We get so many different reactions," Dusti Ivey said.
"I get to spend some time with her and it is fairly easy work. Plus, we get to bring some happiness to people," Darren Ivey said.
Local firefighters and police officers started delivering Valentine’s gifts for Steve’s Floral years ago during a bad ice storm. The shop’s owner found that they were the only ones willing to brave bad weather and icy roads. Plus, they know the city very well thanks to their line of work.
"I told them that they had the right to walk way because it was severe weather and there had been freezing rain the whole entire day. And they said, 'No, this is what we do.' It was one of the best years ever for delivery that we were able to get out. It endeared me to them forever and they’re our go-to people for every holiday when we need extra delivery help but particularly on Valentine’s Day. And I think they really enjoy it too because of the way they get to interact with the community. It works very smooth and they get a tremendous amount of orders out and they know exactly where to go," said Jan Miller, owner of Steve's Floral.
Now, even when the weather isn’t bad, the officers and firefighters still want to help make the holiday memorable for others. And like Darren Ivey, It has become a family affair with wives and kids lending a helping hand.
It provides a break from their stressful jobs and it's a fun custom that helps spread a little love throughout the community.
Jan Miller pays them for their time and sends them all home with an arrangement of their choice.
The Iveys say they do it year after year to see the reaction on customers' faces when they receive a surprise from a loved one.