Tracie Daly does not like the spotlight.
“This is not about me, we do not want this story to be about us,” she says one morning, through nervous laughter, from her business, The Bouquet Shop in Bryn Mawr. “This is about these nurses and doctors and these people who are just really dedicated and sacrificing. Every day these people are going out there—this is the least we can do.”
By “this,” Daly is referring to the plan she dreamed up over the last few weeks of the pandemic: Any time someone places an order for Mother’s Day flowers from The Bouquet Shop, Daly will also deliver a bouquet to a healthcare worker, at no additional charge. Mother’s Day is a huge event for florists, and Daly figured it was a natural way to put that spike in activity to good use.
“Actually, let’s say all of May,” she says, making the on-the-spot decision, with her store manager and head floral designer, Steve Walker, to extend the program throughout the month. “I don’t want to turn people away.”
Since announcing the plan on the shop’s burgeoning Instagram last week, orders have climbed into the triple digits, keeping Daly’s crew of delivery people driving around town and as far away as the Shore. “The least we can do is drive to Jersey,” she says.
Delivery is non-contact, with workers wearing gloves and masks and leaving arrangements on front steps after ringing the doorbell, or at the welcome desk in hospital lobbies. “It’s almost like ding-dong-ditch,” she says with a laugh.
The idea was born out of the all-consuming desire we all feel to find some way to make a difference during the pandemic. “We were going back-and-forth about what we could do, and then I realized: I’m sitting here among all of these beautiful flowers. It was hidden in plain sight! Whatever you have, that’s what you give,” she says.
It’s a lesson Daly’s parents, Tess and Jim Boyle, always modeled for their daughter as she was growing up in Springfield. (Ever proud of her roots, Daly even named her dog Delco.) “My mom and dad would be all over this, I’m telling you,” she says. “It’s just how we grew up.”
Tess worked at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for 41 years in volunteer services. Sadly, she passed away just a few months ago, over Christmas, 15 years after Daly’s dad died over the holiday as well.
“It’s my first Mother’s Day without my mom,” she says, straining to hold back sobs. “It’s keeping me busy and keeping me going, and this is just something that I know my mom would have been here for, with me.”
Daly hopes to deliver arrangements to every single nurse’s station at Bryn Mawr Hospital, up the road from the store, then to each station at her mother’s former employer, CHOP.
“It all just feels so good, to connect with people who share their stories with me—I’ve probably cried two or three times each day,” Daly says.
Arrangements start at $50, plus delivery and tax (though there’s no fee for the health care worker’s arrangement) and go up in $5 increments. Each one is original, with hydrangeas, tulips, lilies, roses.
“These people are truly heroes. They are dedicating every ounce of their energy and time, and then they come home and so many of them are alone—they’re young, they’re just starting out, imagine how hard that is to spend your whole day around people who are sick and quarantined, and then come home to be by yourself,” Daly says.
Since she announced the project, some people have called just to make donations, wanting nothing in return, or asking if they can make donations in honor of loved ones, late mothers or grandmothers or aunts. “It all just feels so good, to connect with people who share their stories with me—I’ve probably cried two or three times each day,” Daly says.
And she knows that, through it all, her parents would be proud. “This was their spirit,” she says. “They’re with me every minute.”