Triple Overtime For Cupid's Helpers

Floral designer Kelly Witzke of Midland, Mich. picks out a handfull of roses from the dozens in the cooler to make an arrangement Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2002, at Smith's Flowers and Gifts. AP

Your sweetie's Valentine's Day bouquet was almost late.

FedEx scrambled Wednesday to finish delivering 4 million pounds of flowers in time for Valentine's Day, including 800,000 pounds that had been briefly stranded in coolers around Miami International Airport.

FedEx called in three extra DC-10 cargo jets and 15 refrigerated trucks to help haul flowers from Miami, the nation's major floral import center, to the company's hub in Memphis and then throughout the nation, company spokesman Ed Coleman said.

"We want to help Cupid a little bit here and make sure that everybody can receive their Valentine's flowers this year," Coleman said.

The amount of flowers FedEx was asked to carry out of Miami had exceeded earlier projections, requiring he the scramble, he said.

Some flower distributors in Miami said they were nearly left hanging.

"I had two truck loads of flowers. I had about $100,000 worth of flowers sitting here in a truck instead of in customers hands," said Wilma Diaz, marketing director of Miami Flower Traders, which distributes about $2 million worth of flowers in the two weeks leading up to Valentine's Day.

Coleman said all FedEx deliveries were being completed Wednesday.

In 2000, 365 million pounds of fresh cut flowers came into the United States, with 85 percent of them coming through Miami International Airport, officials said.

Armellini Industries, a chief transporter out of Miami, said Tuesday it expected to move 21 million pounds of flowers through its Miami hub in an eight-day period leading up to Valentine's Day.



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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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