A high school senior with a heart of gold made Valentine's season a little sweeter for more than 800 girls in his Utah school by giving every single one of them a flower for the holiday.
Smithfield resident Hayden Godfrey, 17, saved for a year and a half to afford the $450 it cost to purchase 900 carnations from an online wholesaler, he told ABC News today. He began earning the money by working as a cook at a nearby McDonald's and a dishwasher at a Mexican restaurant, and for the last 10 months, he's been bagging groceries at a local store.
The gargantuan gesture resulted from years of buildup and planning. Every Valentine's Day since he was 14, Godfrey would anonymously send flowers to dozens of his friends, he said. Each year, the project grew larger in scale until he ultimately decided he wanted to make "as many people as possible" happy this Valentine's Day.
Godfrey's mother, Erin Godfrey, said he first got the idea in middle school, when he noticed that some girls didn't receive anything on the romantic holiday.
"That broke his heart on Valentine's Day," she told ABC News today, calling her son a "sensitive soul." She added: "He wanted every girl to feel joy."
Godfrey ordered the flowers to his home three weeks in advance and enlisted the help of about 20 friends to help him process and cut the 24-inch stems after they arrived. He gave the carnations one day to bloom before loading them all into his parents' van to bring them to Sky View High School Thursday.
His girlfriend of six months and fellow classmate, 18-year-old Lilyan Sharp, called Godfrey's gesture "very special" and said every girl walked out of school with a "giant smile on their face."
"I, myself, spent a lot of Valentine’s Days not receiving anything," she told ABC News. "I know how it feels."
This year, Sharp received concert tickets from Godfrey to see A Great Big World in Salt Lake City on March 28.
Godfrey worked with school administration to pull off his Valentine's Day plan. Assistant Principal Curt Hanks helped Godfrey by providing a headcount of the number of female students enrolled at the school and arranging for him and his friends to interrupt the last classes of the day to pass them out.
"I think that he’s an amazing kid," Hanks said of Godfrey. "I’m speechless at his actions."
With the help of volunteers, Godfrey handed carnations to 834 girls on Thursday. He hasn't yet decided what he'll do with the extra flowers, but said he's sure he'll "find something."
"I don't think anything can compare to seeing every girl in your life holding a flower as they walk through the halls," the self-professed romantic wrote on Facebook.
Godfrey said it was "absolutely" worth the time and effort it took to pass out the hundreds of flowers and that he thinks he's made some lifelong friends along the way. He hopes to continue to surprise people every Valentine's Day.
"I think it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life," he said. "I got a lot of 'thank yous' that day. It was really cool."
Godfrey will graduate high school in spring and plans to eventually attend college somewhere in Utah.