Christine and Michael met in the summer of 2007, right after Christine moved to San Diego. Michael was finishing up college at SDSU and Christine was starting law school at USD. At the time, Michael was teaching surf lessons in Mission Beach. Christine’s cousin Lauren invited Christine on a weekend trip to Ensenada with a group of her friends; a trip that Michael was also invited on by a fellow surf instructor and mutual friend.
Christine and Michael befriended each other over that carefree and sunny weekend in Mexico. They quickly began spending all their free time together, and on Christine’s 23rd birthday that August, Michael officially asked her to be his girlfriend. Almost seven years later, after many more wonderful experiences together, and after one crazy engagement story, they are excited to finally get married!
how they asked, and how it turned out, are two very different stories! On June 30th Michael and Christine headed down to their local beach to take their dog for a walk. Michael went out to surf for a bit, while Christine and their “chiweenie” Tyson watched from the beach. As he came in, Christine walked down to meet him as he got out of the water. Unbeknownst to her, Michael began to pull an engagement ring out of his pocket. Yes, he surfed with a diamond in his pocket…no, he did not lose it while surfing; in fact it was very secure.
As he was holding the ring, a wave crashed behind him and it slipped out of his fingers. Christine did not see or realize any of this and thought that he was hurt. The rest was a whirlwind of a frantic search for the ring. Among the sadness and confusion that day, Michael never got the chance to finish his proposal. As they searched for the ring the next day, Michael got down on one knee and showed Christine a photo in his phone of the ring, and asked her to marry him. Of course she said yes; losing the ring was just a minor glitch right?
A few days later they found themselves on the local news telling the story, not really expecting anything to come of it, but accepting the kindness of KUSI in broadcasting the story. Surprisingly, numerous people contacted Michael offering to help him search for the ring with their professional metal detector equipment. These kind men were trained detectorists, and believed that if Michael knew where he dropped the ring, there was a high probability it sank in that region and could be found in a low tide. Every night for the next week Michael was meeting these great people, who were complete strangers, at the beach at odd hours of night during low tides as they searched for the ring. None of these people would accept anything from Michael in return; no compensation for their time, not even gas money. They truly wanted to help the couple find the ring. The search dwindled down because Michael and Christine had to try to get their lives back to normal, focus on their jobs, and celebrate their engagement, ring or no ring! Little did they know that Don Barthel, a man who had met Michael at the beach on the morning of July 4th, had continued to follow the tides and at his own free will again made the 45 minute drive from his home to search for the ring on July 11th. Christine got a call from Don at work, he had found the ring, and asked her to describe it. She cried, could barely talk, and couldn’t describe it because she never saw it! Michael and Christine rushed down to the beach to meet Don, and sure enough it was the custom ring Michael had made for Christine. There were lots of tears of happiness and disbelief, and a second proposal alongside the coast highway…above the sand, not the water.
The next day Don, Michael, and Christine went on KUSI news together to tell the happy story. While the proposal didn’t turn out as Michael intended, those eleven days restored faith in the Good Samaritan’s in the world and brought many wonderful people together, forever connecting them to Don, and giving them a story and ring that will forever be passed down in their family.
Engagement photographer: Allie Lindsey