Roger Walton used to work in financial management as a civilian employee of the Department of the Navy.
“I enjoyed it, but after a while, those spreadsheets got to be a little too much,” he quipped.
In retirement, he works as a part-time delivery driver for Royer’s. He joined the company seven years ago, first working out of its old store in Mechanicsburg and now in Carlisle. Twice Roger has been honored as Royer’s driver of the year.
“I couldn’t ask for better people to work for,” he said. “They are nice people and they really know what they’re doing. They make beautiful arrangements that I get to deliver and get the compliment, which I bring back to them.”
On a cold, sunny Friday morning in late January, Roger started his work day with six deliveries. They expressed a range of sentiments, from birthday wishes to sympathy for a mother mourning the loss of her son. At a workplace, the recipient explained to her colleagues that the flowers were from her financial planner.
Royer’s drivers won’t leave flowers and plants if the intended recipients aren’t home and the temperature is too cold or too hot. First the drivers will attempt to leave the packages with a neighbor. Failing that, the drivers will leave a note to coordinate a later delivery.
“Sometimes I’ve had people say, ‘Well, I really don’t know my neighbors,’ ” Roger said. “And I said, ‘This would be a great opportunity to get to meet them and talk a little bit to them.’ ”
The Carlisle store delivers to a sizable geographic area, from western Perry County down to the Gettysburg area, Roger said. In a typical day, a driver might cover 200 miles.
Valentine’s Day is among the busiest times of year for Royer’s and other florists. It’s a time for expressing love, of course, but Roger also remembers his first Valentine’s Day working in Carlisle.
“I ended up hitting a deer with a full van of arrangements,” he said. The arrangements had to be transferred to a second van, returned to the store to be inspected for damage, and then delivered.
Roger’s van had to be towed back to the store.
“And I’ll tell you, for a while after that, I was pretty skittish going around corners in forested areas,” he said.
But here he is, years later, continuing to enjoy his time with Royer’s.
“I do really enjoy bringing smiles to peoples’ faces,” he said. “And I think an arrangement of flowers does that as well as anything.”