My fiancé Caroline and I met while training for our current jobs in Georgia. Unfortunately, when the training ended in March, Caroline had to return to Tampa and I returned to Virginia. We knew we wanted to continue dating but also realized the challenges of a long distance relationship. As a result, Caroline and I agreed to visit each other at least twice a month. I’m not sure how we managed to do it but, from March to January, we each managed to travel to other’s town at least once a month. By December, I knew I was ready to propose and began planning my course of action. I knew I wanted the proposal to be a surprise because Caroline was convinced she would uncover any surprise I could plan. First things first, Caroline and I spent Christmas in Detroit with her family. During the trip, I was able to meet with Caroline’s parents without Caroline knowing. Her parents were very excited about the proposal but agreed not to say anything to Caroline.
Caroline knew I was planning to fly to Tampa in January for a weekend (Friday-Sunday). She knew I already had tickets and was ready to see me after a long weekend. However, I decided to fly down on Thursday during the work day so I’d be able to completely surprise her with the proposal. Like many long distance couples, we text each other throughout the work day to stay in touch. To avoid her realizing that I was on a plane to see her, I left my cell phone with a coworker. The coworker was given a script of text messages to send at specific times throughout the day to avoid raising suspicions. I landed in Tampa early in the afternoon, rented a car and picked up flowers, balloons and dinner from our favorite restaurant. Once I landed, I start communicating with Caroline on my work phone; tell her my cell phone was dead. Caroline usually left work about 5 but on this night she scheduled a 2 hr training program last minute so she wouldn’t be home until 7. I waited in the parking lot of her apartment until she left for her training program and then I carried my supplies up to her apartment (which I had a spare key for). I decorated her apartment with 3 dozen roses strewn about the floor, balloons around the living room, a trail of rose petals through the living room and lots of candles.
When Caroline left her training program, she called me (she’s so predictable!) so I snuck out of the apartment and returned to my car in the parking lot. As Caroline returned home, I trailed her up the stairs to her apartment, just out of her sight. I was standing around the corner from her door when I heard her open it. When she saw the decorations, she began calling out “Hello.” Obviously she’s a girl who lives alone and constantly has to be on her guard. After about a minute, I couldn’t wait any longer and approached her. As soon as she saw me she broke down crying, so happy to see me unexpectedly. For about 5 minutes we stood on her doorstep with her crying and telling me how excited she was to see me. As a guy, I wasn’t sure if her crying was really a good thing but I’ve since learned it is a good sign. I asked her to step into the apartment. At that point, she told me, “I’ve never been this surprised.” That was my signal. I said, “Want to bet?”, got down on my knee and, with a tear in my eye, asked Caroline to marry me.
She began to cry (later telling me that even when she saw me on the doorstep, she didn’t believe I was going to propose) and was so excited she forgot to put the ring on. After a few more tears, she said yes and grabbed the ring. It hasn’t left her finger since, even to get sized. The final touch of the proposal was making sure I caught the whole thing on video. I setup my computer strategically in the room to record the whole event with my webcam so we’ll have that memory forever!