“Hilary, there are flowers for you here,” my office’s receptionist sung into the phone as she called me from our other location, which is about half a mile from where I work.
“Flowers? For me? There? That is so strange. Who are they from?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Come over and find out,” she happily answered.
“Alright,” I replied as I grabbed my car keys. “I will come over.” But, before I left my office I called back, suspicion got the better of me. “Are you sure there are flowers for me there? This isn’t some attempt just to get me over there, is it?”
I was able to hear her roll her eyes as she sighed and said, “No, there REALLY are flowers for you here.”
Now curious, I immediately headed over. As I drove, I wracked my brain thinking who would have ever sent me flowers. After all, I haven’t worked in that location for over four years. Anyone who would know me well enough to send flowers would know where I physically worked. As I parked my car, suddenly a scary thought, about who the sender could be, hit me. My ex-boyfriend, Fred who I haven’t spoken to or seen in ten years popped into my head. He knew where I worked, he knew my name was on the company website, and used to send me flowers there all the time when I got mad at him. I pushed the thought quickly away, because after all, while he didn’t take the breakup well initially, for ten years he has been out of my life.
When I got to the office, I didn’t even open the flowers, I immediately opened the envelope that was addressed to me with my current, married last name. Skipping the message, I just went to the bottom, and a chill ran down my spine. The card was signed Fred! “Oh my God, oh my God,” I started mumbling and shaking. The receptionist who called me was immediately at my side. “I was afraid of this,” I continued as I told her who I feared it would be, and explaining he was the only Fred I knew.
I read the card over and over. While it had a generic opening, it continued to say “I know you have been having a rough time, so I thought these would brighten your office.” This freaked me out even more! How did he know I was having a rough time?
“Calm down,” the receptionist told me as she handed me a glass of water. “Call the company and find out who sent you the flowers.”
I took her advice, but the girl I spoke to told me that unless they contact the sender they can’t release the information, which I obviously didn’t want to do. Panicked, I asked to speak to her manager, and when I did, I played up the situation, turning on the tears, and pretending that Fred staked me. The manager, again said he couldn’t release the senders name without speaking to him, but agreed if I gave him Fred’s full name, he would tell me if he did send the flowers.
“Fred Flinstone?” I asked.
“No,” he replied.
“Fred Barney?” I tried his first and middle name?
“No,” he replied again.
“Fred Rubble?” I asked using my maiden name.
Again, he said no. Now, I was out of guesses. He assured me that the sender paid with a credit card that matched his name, so chances are it wasn’t Fred Flintstone, unless he got a phony card, which was too farfetched even for me…. So, while I felt a little better, I didn’t want to take any chances. I decided to return the flowers, recipient unknown.
As the receptionist helped me pack up the flowers, a long time co-worker appeared. Curious, she asked who sent the flowers. “I don’t know!” I replied.
“What do you mean?” she countered.
I handed her the card, and she immediately spotted and recognized Fred’s name. “Huh?” she asked. “Could it be?”
“I have no clue, but I am sending them back.” I replied.
“Let me look at the card again,” she said. She read it carefully. “It’s not him,” she assured me. “Read it objectively. It is too generic and business based to be him. If it was him, he wouldn’t hide it. He would want to make sure there was no doubt that you knew it was him. I guarantee you this is someone that is soliciting your business. That is why they sent it here. This is the main address for the company. Think about it. Have you spoken to any solicitors recently?”
Of course my answer was yes. While I didn’t know who Fred could be, I knew my friend was right. I immediately felt better and calmer, although I still sent the flowers back. I headed back to my office and plowed through work, putting all thoughts of flowers behind me.
Later that night, I joined my husband, Marc, at a business dinner. Over coffee, Marc’s colleague turned to us and asked, “Do you get to the city much?”
Rather than answering yes or no, I dumbfounded screamed out “oh my God!” because thanks to those seven little words I knew who sent me the flowers! The sender, who I forgot was also named Fred, would always ask me the same question when we were on the phone. Fred was someone I hired to do a project for my office, which wasn’t going as anticipated, which was making things rough for me. I quickly realized that the flowers were his peace offering. Suddenly, the card made total sense.
Sure enough, I called Fred the next day and he confirmed he indeed sent the flowers, although he swore that he told the florist to include the company’s name on the card.
I am still shocked how a sentence could have put this puzzle together for me. Has any small thing triggered your mind making you realize a bigger issue or problem?