“I don’t know if this is really great or just embarrassing. Maybe both,” said one recipient of a Reidos Speedos Fun Shop delivery.
She had walked out of her office to find that a walking, talking teddy bear had come to deliver flowers, chocolate and a balloon for her birthday.
Either way, she felt special, and that is how the husband and wife team, David and Mauricia Reid, co-owner of Reidos Speedos Fun Shop, want their clients to feel.
Reid, 37, has always been a fun-loving man, a bit of a clown who told jokes and acted in ways to make people laugh or lighten their mood. This line of work, dressing as characters to bring people happiness and joy, is right up his alley.
“It’s nice to have something like this to do with your significant other. It’s something I personally enjoy and I don’t have to be anyone other than myself to do it.
“I like to see people get through with their dreams. I genuinely like to help people. I like to say I’m a devout catholic and I took that training from small. All my progress in life, all my achievements, I can always look back on something I would have done through the Catholic church that would have given me that extra edge.”
Reid started DJ-ing and MC-ing at church functions, including sports days, and got involved in several march passes.
He became a march past choreographer and for many years he created routines for different school, corporate, and organisation sporting events across the country free of charge.
He was at one such event in 2012 when a friend brought a cookie monster suit to be part of the routine and told Reid he was the only person who could portray the character properly.
“From the moment I put on the suit, I felt as if it was for me. And when we did the routine, the crowd’s reaction was amazing. A lot of adult women especially liked the cookie monster.”
He purchased the suit thinking he would be the entertainment at children’s parties. However, he realised children were not familiar with cookie monster but the adults loved it. That was when his then girlfriend, Mauricia came up with the idea of a service to deliver flowers and chocolates.
Reid told Sunday Newsday they used to buy the flowers and chocolates from grocery stores but as the demand for the service increased, they started ordering from a flower shop.
For major events like Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, they would purchase flowers wholesale and Mauricia would make the arrangements. They also decided to up their game and import Russell Stover chocolates as well as specialty balloons for several occasions.
They went further, purchasing several other TV characters including Elmo, Sponge Bob, Iron Man, Santa Claus, a gorilla and a teddy bear. And there will soon be a grinch.
In addition to flowers, chocolates and balloons, they also offer cupcakes from Cup-a-licious, fruit baskets with whole exotic fruits, drinks baskets, snack baskets, scented candles and teddy bears.
He stressed that Reidos Speedos is a professional service so, if the delivery is at someone’s workplace, they usually speak to the security and manager before hand to make sure their visit would be carried out without a problem.
“Sometimes there is dancing and singing involved. It depends on the place we go to. We know when to just drop off and give a hug or if it’s an environment where we could do a little dance.
“Anyone who knows me knows I like a little bit of ridiculousness from time to time so it’s part of my natural character to dance and excite an event. And over the years, working with different schools, I have a very good idea what people are into and what is trending.”
All that is done with Mauricia taking pictures and videos of the reaction which is offered as part of the package.
They also do charity events, and most events for children are free of charge, except for children’s birthday parties where they give discounts.
In 2020, he started doing story time for pre- and primary schools on Friday mornings. He would dress up as a character and arrange to log into a class video conference and read a short storybook.
Also, once a month, they take part of their proceeds and take sandwiches and juices to the socially displaced from St Joseph to Tacarigua.
“I always learned in church that you have to give back. You can’t always be about money.”
Reid said under the costume he wears a special mask so he could safely give the recipient a hug under covid19 regulations. The costume is also sanitised as soon as he takes it off.
“Covid hasn’t really affected us. In fact, because of covid people couldn’t celebrate occasions by going to restaurants or having parties so a lot more people utilised our service.”
He explained that a lot of people in the US and UK order for their wives, family and friends. And many of them were people who could not return home when the borders were closed.
Reid said he and his wife both work shift in stressful environments. Shift work allows them to schedule deliveries around their day jobs, and if they do a delivery before he goes to work, he usually goes to the office in a positive mood, feeding off the happy energy of the recipients.
“The main thing is that we love to see people smile and being happy. You could be in whatever mood but when we are finished with a delivery, everyone is happy, including us. When people respond to me positively, it’s like therapy.”