I was about 21 years old and was with my two really good friends from University. One of them had her birthday in a week and I came up with the idea to make a surprise for her.

You may want to know what a good first step is to planning a surprise? Of course, you need to set up brainstorming. My friend came over after studies and we started to sketch up ideas. Here unfolds our plot on what happened on our friend’s special day:

Around lunchtime we went to the cafeteria and a stranger passed by Ann (the birthday girl) whilst giving her a mysterious glance. He came back, said she looked great and gave her a rose; one elegant flower with a thin stalk. She didn’t expect this at all and she was quite surprised so she started asking questions. We claimed we had never seen this guy before. Then, she noticed a piece of paper that was tied to the flower. The piece of paper did not look ordinary. It was burned on all edges and there was a poem put together of pieces of paper cut from a magazine. She read the message and immediately realised that a riddle that was laid out in these words. Ann read the poem twice and then came up with an answer. It was saying something about a noisy place that a lot of people pass by every day. She was sure they were saying about a nearby metro station.

She could barely wait until the end of classes and we were all looking at each other smiling ear-to-ear and looking forward to uncovering the next step of the riddle.

The bell finally rang and we ran as fast as we could to the metro station. Ann was looking around in hopes of finding the next riddle. She turned around and saw a lady who worked at the metro station and this woman happened to carry a red rose with a small piece of paper (just like Ann had on her rose!). Ann ran to that lady and told her that this flower belonged to her. Without any expression on her face the lady gave her the flower. She was excited and she read the new message with a smile on her face. It was a new riddle, and as she read it one last time we could see in her eyes that she already had an answer. The riddle said: “A bold leader from the past is standing & looking at us. You need to jump around his spot & people in masks will tell you about the next stop”. We took a train and went directly to the city centre. Ann found the statue of Lenin, but she didn’t see another flower like she was expecting. She seemed confused at first, but then, she realised that there was not only a riddle that was in that message, there was actually a task as well. She jumped around the statue of Lenin and a stranger in a mask ran to her and gave her a new flower!

At this point, we could see she was in the seventh heaven. We went to the next stop which was a store with an exotic fruity name and Ann met her friend who carried a new flower for her. A new riddle was saying: “It’s the biggest mall nearby. You should follow the crowd to find a handsome guy”. We went to one of the biggest shopping malls and we were trying to find the crowd. The mall was empty and we didn’t see the crowd outside, then we heard male voices behind us and 7 strangers was screaming “Happy Birthday”. They were carrying Happy Birthday posters and throwing confetti. Ann was in shock, she didn’t know even a single person from this crowd, she took a flower, hugged a couple of guys and started working on a new riddle. We were walking around the city for 2 hours and Ann now carried a big bouquet of beautiful red roses. The sun was gone and as it was nighttime, it was a bit chilly. So, it was the perfect moment and setting for sharing some romantic stories.

We went to the park and there was a task to waltz on the main stage. Ann was so shy and we didn’t know what to do, so we danced by ourselves, and then we pushed her to the stage. It just wouldn’t work. And suddenly, a miracle occurred. A handsome stranger came over to her and asked her what she was up to. She responded by saying that she needed to waltz but she couldn’t waltz without a partner. He took her hand and just like that, they started dancing the waltz together. I thought we lost her for a second, but she was in a perfect world where she was a princess dancing with a prince.

They stopped dancing, he gave her one more flower, and then he disappeared. She was a bit sad but deep down she knew this adventure wasn’t over. She had a new riddle and we were all ready to accompany her to the final stop.

We went back to the metro station where we started our adventure and we were trying to find a new rose. Then, Ann heard someone calling her name. She turned and saw another stranger, he was dressed nice and was giving her another flower. This guy said he had a surprise for her and blindfolded her. She was a bit anxious as we asked her to get into the car and told her that we were driving to a secret place.

We then arrived to the secret place but, she couldn’t see anything so she had no idea what was going on. The stranger took her hand and accompanied her to the final destination for her birthday surprise. She opened her eyes, and there she was, standing in her own apartment full of her family members! I will never forget her expression at that moment. She was smiling and crying and we knew they were tears of happiness.

We left her apartment and we were the happiest friends in the world. It was worth it! We didn’t sleep for 2 nights, we had been looking for help for 1 week, and we had been walking for 3 hours around the city. But sharing that moment of happiness with those you care about is the highest honor.