WILKES-BARRE — Sharon Butczynski should have been outside tending to her garden on a hot Saturday morning.
Instead, she’s left with the sad memory of what her garden used to look like after the City of Wilkes-Barre’s Department of Public Works accidentally cleaned up the wrong property last Tuesday.
But after the story was publicized, Tom Ansilio, the founder of Flower Tent, knew he had to do something. Ansilio operates Butczynski’s favorite flower spot on Blackman Street in Wilkes-Barre.
“When I saw what the city did to Sharon’s property, I felt bad for her,” Ansilio said. “I immediately wanted to help out and make things right.”
Ansilio called Butczynski on Friday night.
“On the phone, she told me that a bulk of the flowers that were in her garden came from the Flower Tent,” Ansilio said.
Butczynski, 56, was moved to tears after their conversation.
“I just couldn’t believe someone could be so kind,” she said.
Ansilio personally invited Butczynski to come to the Flower Tent on Saturday morning so she could find plants to replenish her ruined garden — all at no cost to her.
“I drove from the Poconos to make sure I could meet Sharon and help her out,” Ansilio noted.
When Sharon arrived at the Flower Tent, she was again brought to tears.
“This is the city’s responsibility,” Butczynski told Ansilio. “I don’t think it’s your responsibility as a family-owned business to help me out.”
Ansilio responded by telling her: “We don’t mind helping you out.”
“I’m not trying to be greedy,” Butczynski said. “I came to just meet Tom and thank him for his generosity and kindness.”
Ansilio donated many different species of plants and flowers, including Butczynski’s favorite, carnations.
“I lost over 30 different species of flowers,” Butczynski said. “It’s just so heartbreaking what the city did because my garden is all I do.”
City Administrator Ted Wampole admitted the mistake, and officials have pledged to restore her 179 S. Empire St. garden.
“I asked to accompany the landscaper the city is going to send,” Butczynski said. “It’s not cheap to purchase trees, plants and flowers. The city needs to be responsible.”
“Aside from being a good mother,” Butczynski continued. “I think gardening is the best thing I do!”
She couldn’t thank Ansilio enough.
“When my garden is completed, I’ll send in photos,” she promised. “You can bet that I will recommend the Flower Tent to anyone.”
“I felt bad to see Sharon in tears,” said Ansilio. “But I’m glad to help her begin the re-growing process. At the end of the day, flowers make people happy.”