Around Orlando, some families are gazing out in their front yards only to discover they’ve been “tea-p’d.” Except this kind of gesture is not looked upon with scowls and shaking fists, but rather with smiles and sometimes tears of joy.
This form of “tea-p’ing,” sparked by Infusion Tea owners Christina and Brad Cowherd, provides orange signs, toilet paper, and loose leaf tea to Orlando families in the form of care packages sent from loved ones. What’s more, it’s providing jobs for Infusion’s workers.
“We call it our little COVID miracle. We have been able to bring back all of our furloughed employees that want to come back. Everyone’s working that wants to be working,” Brad said. “It’s good for the employees, it’s great for morale.”
When Christina first hatched the idea about a month ago, the couple thought they might deliver 25 or 30 of these signs and “tea-p” packages to their College Park neighbors. Then, the idea took off.
“They just caught on. We’ve now done over 1,300,” Brad said. “We do delivery boxes for everywhere else in the country. On top of the signs, we’re mailing boxes every day and we’ve done about 1,000 of those.”
Currently, the tea shop is delivering signs to Orlando zip codes 32804, 32801, 32803, 32751, 32805, 32806 and 32789, but more may be added in the future. Each delivery includes a sign reading, “You’ve been tea-p’d” along with the sender’s name, two rolls of toilet paper and a bag of loose leaf tea, weather-proofed in a plastic bag.
Infusion Tea employee Lori Minor has been out delivering several times, sometimes accompanied by her daughter, Ivy. On an average trip, they’ll deliver between 25 and 35 signs to College Park, Winter Park, Maitland and beyond.
“I think people are happy to see us. People come out and they’re inquisitive about what we’re doing exactly, but then they see the toilet paper, the tea and who it’s from,” Minor said. “A couple of them have been reduced to tears.”
She said that the deliveries only seem to be increasing and that she embraces the opportunity to keep working and spreading joy in the community.
“It’s contactless and you can show some love to somebody,” Minor said. “For me, it’s a great opportunity to go and do something to still feel like I’m helping somebody or doing something productive.”
Emily Blomquist, a longtime friend of the Cowherds, was pleasantly surprised to see her “tea-p” package show up on a gloomy day.
“It was such a nice surprise, especially because the day that we got it, it was a really rainy and dreary day,” she said. “When we got that, everybody was so excited in our house and we couldn’t wait to be able to pass that on.”
Following her delivery, Blomquist was able to pass along the act of kindness with two packages sent to others, including her mom, a snowbird who ended up staying in Florida longer than she had meant to.
Knowing Brad and Christina Cowherd, Blomquist wasn’t surprised that they would come up with such an ingenious idea to keep employees working.
“Of course they would come up with something so clever,” she said. “I feel like Brad and Christina are really creative with making things work and being really flexible.”
As it turns out, when Orlandoans get “tea-p’d,” everyone wins.
“Every day, somebody will call and just thank us for being out and doing this. It really raises people’s spirits,” Brad Cowherd said. “Overall, it’s been a great experience for us and the community.”