How We Met: It all started 2 years ago in Kansas City, KS. I was a General Manager for Applebee’s Grill & Bar and so was Nicci. I was in Dodge City, KS and she was at an Omaha, NE location. Our franchise took all of their General Managers to KC for a few days of relaxation and a few short meetings. During some of the different activities everyone was broken up into groups. We were in the same group for the entire weekend. One of the activities was a scavenger hunt that was put together for the different groups and that took place at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Among many of the items on the scavenger hunt we had to find a floppy disk. I didn’t know that those still existed. Of course nobody was able to find one, if they would have there probably would have been a half inch of dust to blow off. We moved on to trying to fit our group into a shopping cart. That was actually pretty easy especially since each person put one of their feet in the cart. The disrobing of a store mannequin was awkward but had everyone in the store laughing. The one that stuck out the most was the one that instructed us to find the dog watering dish in front of a jewelry store. Of course we found it and being the outgoing person that I am I volunteered to have my picture taken with the dog dish. I could have stood next to it or even sat next to it but I decided to get down on all fours like a dog and pretend to drink out of this watering dish. After the photo was taken I jumped up quickly. I figured that someone would try to push my face into the slobber covered water dish. Why? Because that is something that I would have done.
After I got back on my feet I found out that Nicci was going to do just that. She was going to show this rookie GM how things were done. We laughed and didn’t think much of it as the week went on. Being in the same group Nicci answered a lot of questions for me that had to do with running a multi-million dollar restaurant. We kept in contact and as we went back to our restaurants and she continued to help me run mine. A few weeks later there was a family matter that required Nicci to move back to her hometown of Nixa, MO. Weeks continued to go by and we would meet up in Wichita, KS or the place we know best, Kansas City. Those meetings quickly went from every 3-4 weeks to every 2-3 weeks, and then consistently every 2 weeks. This is when we realized that there was more than her helping with the questions and challenges I had with running a restaurant. Little feelings started to develop. Those started to get stronger and the butterflies did too. We soon found ourselves in love which was a shock for both of us and something much that was welcomed. This did pose a bit of a problem because there was over 400 miles that separated our homes.
After thousands of miles, texts, and hundreds of hours on the phone it was time for someone to move. We agreed that it would be better and easiest if I moved to Nixa, MO. This is where her family was and her daughter would be in a very good school system. 13 months after meeting I had a U-Haul hitched to the truck and the Applebee’s where I grew up, in the rearview mirror. All the while knowing I was closing a long chapter in life and starting a new, shorter chapter. A chapter that would last only 11 months. The chapter that confirmed my love for Nicci and her daughter. The chapter that on the last few pages showed a lot of emotion with planning the surprise of our lives.
how they asked: I went from being on all fours in front of that very same dog dish in front of the jewelry store where we had met, to kneeling and saying to Nicci, “I love you, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” Through the tears of excitement, joy, and shock she said, “YES!”
Photography by Jamie K! Photography