'Perfect stranger' delivers birthday surprise 4,000 km away
'I don't know who this man is, but he came with flowers and a birthday cake, so I love him to death'
A Halifax woman managed to pull off a birthday surprise for her mother who lives 4,000 kilometres away, thanks to the help of a kind but mysterious stranger she found online.
Alison Hill had a simple enough request: She wanted to send her mom flowers on her birthday.
But Hill's mother lives in a tiny rural community in Manitoba, nearly four hours northwest of Winnipeg, where there aren't any floral delivery shops.
So on a whim, on the eve of her mother's 71st birthday, Hill made a post on Reddit to see if anyone nearby was willing to bring her mother flowers.
Within minutes, she had a response from someone whose real name she still doesn't know, promising to make it happen.
She ordered the flowers in Dauphin, Man., about a 40-minute drive from her mom's place. She offered to pay for the gas, but the man wouldn't take it.
'Well just a moment'
Tia Hill was sitting in her front yard on the evening of May 24, enjoying birthday wine with her husband and a few neighbours.
"I said to them [her neighbours], 'If I had known we were having company, I would have baked a cake,'" said Hill, who moved to Sifton six years ago after three decades in Sydney, N.S.
She said a grey truck that she didn't recognize pulled up. A man got out and asked if she was Tia.
"I said, 'Yes I am.' And he said, 'Well just a moment.' And he went around to the passenger side and he came out with an urn full of salmon pink hibiscus and a birthday cake. And I was shocked. I was like, 'Where did this come from?'"
The card on the flowers said they were from Alison and her three-year-old son.
But the cake was a surprise for both women.
"I called Alison right away to thank her for the lovely surprise and she said, 'I didn't order cake.' And I'm like, 'But I got a birthday cake — carrot cake. It says "Happy birthday Tia" on it.' And she said, 'Well he must have done that himself,'" Tia Hill said.
"A perfect stranger — she just ordered the flowers, he ordered the cake. And I was so taken aback. What a wonderful thing to do for somebody."
Alison Hill said it then dawned on her why the man had asked for her mother's name.
"He had messaged me to ask what my mother's name was, which I thought was hilarious that I never bothered to tell him, even though I sent him to her front door," she said, laughing.
"I thought that was amazing. It never even occurred to me to get her a cake — I just wanted to send her flowers!"
'He really made my day'
Alison Hill said she wasn't concerned about sending a stranger to her mother's house.
"If he was willing to drive to this little town in the middle of nowhere, then I wasn't really worried about it."
But Tia Hill didn't even realize the man was a stranger.
"I asked him his name. He said his name is Dean and he does deliveries."
After her daughter told her the whole story, she even tried to track him down, but the flower shop had a different name on file.
"I don't know who this man is, but he came with flowers and a birthday cake, so I love him to death," Tia Hill said.
"I would just tell him he's an incredibly thoughtful person. He really made my day. I already gave him a big hug and kiss because I was so pleased. And I would just do it all over again. I'd give him another hug and a kiss, but I think this time I would ask for his last name."
CBC News tried to reach the man through Reddit but did not hear back.
Alison Hill said she wrote back to thank the man several times.
"He just said that I'm very welcome, and he does these things because he hopes someday someone will look out for his mom, too."