Valentine’s day came early for most of Ardmore Wednesday after an East Coast greeting card company surprised thousands of residents with pop-up thank you cards. More than 24,340 cards were delivered to Ardmore residents.
The cards, part thank you, part guerrilla marketing campaign, recounted the time the company’s founders got sidetracked on a road trip to Panama and ended up in Ardmore.
“We had this goal to drive down to Panama,” Wombi Rose, co-founder and CEO of Lovepop said. “We were all going to a shipbuilding school at the time, and decided to go. We got turned around near Brownsville.”
Rose said the RV the group had driven was registered in his father’s name, which may have prevented the group from crossing multiple borders throughout Central America.
“We found out that Oklahoma was the best place to get the vehicle retitled,” Rose said. “The goal was to get the RV retitled.”
One member of the group was Ardmore native Tom Tindale. Naturally, the group venture into Oklahoma ended up in Ardmore.
Tom’s mother Jan called the gesture “unbelievably kind.”
“I am so proud of those boys,” Jan said. “I was just really happy last night, them love bombing the community like that.”
After a week in Oklahoma, the group moved on,  eventually ending up in Costa Rica, flying there after driving back to New York first. They never reached Panama.
While in Oklahoma, the group got to experience several Southern Oklahoma highlights, include the Arbuckle Wilderness and the Okie Noodling Contest.
“The craziest thing was the noodling,” Rose said. “I saw the biggest catfish I’ve seen in my life.”
Rose has been back to Oklahoma once since, having previously never visited the state, thinking it was mostly made up of sagebrush and deserts.
“It’s just a beautiful place,” Rose said. “Oklahoma wasn’t what we expected.”
Rose said the marketing campaign was the result of a “crazy idea” to celebrate a city, with Ardmore immediately coming to mind.
“Everyone that we ran into there was so helpful,” Rose said. “They were so helpful that we said Ardmore was the place.”
Rose said the reaction to the campaign would likely lead other cities to receiving the same treatment.