By Suzan Clarke
Army National Guard Maj. Shawn Fulker is thousands of miles away serving in Afghanistan, and when his wife’s birthday came around, he decided he wanted to do something very special.
Josephine Fulker loves Mellow Mushroom pizza, so her husband emailed Mellow Mushroom’s corporate website on Thursday to ask whether one of the company’s Jacksonville stores could deliver a pizza and a $50 gift card to his wife at their Jacksonville, Fla., home. If they could, he said, he would call the store and pay for it with his credit card.
Mellow Mushroom did one better. Unbeknownst to Shawn Fulker, a local Mellow Mushroom franchise was working to make his request even more memorable.
“We had the cook make a heart-shaped pizza, and then we stopped by the nearest Publix (supermarket) to get flowers and then we picked up balloons, just to kind of make it special,” Brooke Chafee, a manager at the Jacksonville store, told ABCNews.com on Monday evening.
Chafee and another employee of the store made the special delivery — which included the $50 gift card to Mellow Mushroom — in person to Fulker’s home on Thursday. They didn’t charge Shawn Fulker a thing.
John Valentino, the Mellow Mushroom franchisee who owns that location and others in Jacksonville, said his store was happy to have made the day special for the couple.
“Of course we weren’t going to charge him for anything,” Valentino told ABC. “Him being a serviceman and his wife being home. … Hopefully in her husband’s absence we were able to help her have a great birthday while he’s over in Afghanistan serving our country.”
Josephine Fulker had just finished Skyping with her husband when the doorbell rang and she saw the two Mellow Mushroom employees at her door on Thursday.
“I don’t know their names exactly, but they had a pizza and a big butterfly balloon and a vase of flowers with a gift card for $50 and they told me that it was from my husband. I said ‘Oh my goodness.’ I was surprised and excited and overwhelmed and all of that. It was so nice,” she said.
It was especially nice because Shawn Fulker had already sent his wife flowers and candy earlier that day. Since he hadn’t been able to check his email for a while, he had no idea that Mellow Mushroom had been working on his initial request.
Josephine Fulker told ABC News that the even the slices of pepperoni on the pizza were cut into the heart shapes. The Fulkers have been married for seven years and have a 5-year-old son, Ethan. They were both touched by the company’s gesture.
“He was just really overwhelmed with their thoughtful act of kindness,” Josephine, 41, said of her 46-year-old husband.
In an email to ABC News on Monday, Shawn Fulker described how much the company’s gesture moved him.
“I miss my wife and son so much, and seeing that photo of them smiling at my front door brought tears to my eyes,” he wrote. “When I received the email and photo from Mellow Mushroom I was sitting at my desk, and had to get up and leave the room to compose myself. I am very grateful for that moment.”
He posted a summary of his interaction with Mellow Mushroom on the store’s Facebook page on Thursday.
“I got an email from my wife saying that Mellow Mushroom just delivered a special heart-shaped pizza along with a $50 gift card and some balloons and flowers! The GM, J.P. Morgan, emailed me and said simply ‘We got you bro’ … Thank you so much for this J.P., and please pass my thanks along to your team,” he wrote.
As of Monday night, Fulker’s post has been liked more than 65,000 times. More than 2,000 comments poured in from admiring Facebook users.
“Well done MM! Reason # 55 why you’re my favorite!” Jason Schalk commented.
“What a great thing for the restaurant to do!!!” added Tricia Robinson Tinsley.