How We Met
On December 10, 2010, I worked concessions at ASU Gammage’s portal 10 when I was greeted by a loud, echoing hiccup from Samantha. I will never forget our first conversation where Samantha said, “Don’t judge me,” where my quick response was, “too late, you’ve been judged.”She was assigned to the auditorium which meant she would be inside the show, away from me. I remember wishing I would’ve had the chance to get to know her better.
The very next night, my wish was granted when every planet and every star aligned! I was working at portal 7 when I heard a familiar hiccup coming from the stairwell. Sure enough, it was Samantha once again. She recognized me from the night before and this night she was stationed outside, giving us a chance to converse. Samantha struck up a conversation based on her observations: I was using an iPhone and Macbook so I must be an Apple fan just like her. For those of you that don’t know, I am far from an Apple fan. I was tinkering around on the iPhone and had it jailbroken and unlocked for T-Mobile, back when only AT&T had the iPhone. The Macbook was my dad’s computer that I was using until my Windows laptop was delivered. My Macbook was using Bootcamp to run Windows. Yes, our relationship was based entirely on a lie.
We spent our first time together bonding and sharing funny YouTube videos. As we sat and laughed together, the time flew by and before we knew it, it was intermission – back to work. As the intermission ended, I had to close up the portal. I tried to come up with any excuse to stay longer and have a reason to hangout with Samantha, maybe even ask her out on a date.
I clocked out and was leaving for the night, but fate had other plans. I went to retrieve my bike, but found that a patron had locked their bike onto mine, forcing me to wait until the show ended. This was it! This was the legitimate reason that I would have to stay and wait! Samantha still does not believe me to this day that there was another bike locked onto mine. I saw this as an opportunity to go back and ask Samantha to dinner at Wendy’s after her shift. Much to my surprise, she said yes and the rest, well to dust off an old cliche, the rest is history.
How They Asked
From Stephen: Starting in September 2017, I enlisted the help of a friend to begin creating Samantha a ring just as unique as her. When she was at work, I took one of her rings and went to the jewelry store to begin the process. We got into Samantha’s pinterest account where she pinned dozens of different engagement rings. Using what we found, we discovered common themes between all of them and began fully customizing her engagement ring. After borrowing elements from a bunch of pinned rings, we finally had a rough draft of something completely unique. After a couple of weeks, the final piece was complete and it is gorgeous!
But a ring is useless without the permission of Steve, her dad. Luckily, Steve was visiting and staying with us shortly after I had the ring in my possession. It was Saturday morning and Sam was at work so it was the perfect time to ask. I asked him if I could have his permission to ask his daughter to marry me. He cracked a smile and said, “of course!” I think he was actually thinking, “about damn time!” as we were dating for 5+ years at this time. I guess I expected more enthusiasm, but was just relieved to have his blessing. Feeling this weight lifted off of me, I asked him if he wanted to workout with me to which he said enthusiastically,” YEAH!” Samantha hates when I tell people this detail, but it’s too funny to leave out.
I got the ring and permission, so all that was left was the master plan on popping the question. It was actually my dad’s idea to ask her at the place we first met, ASU Gammage. I loved the idea and began working with Sam’s former boss, Virginia, on a scheme. We had previously discussed that I might want to propose to her on our 6th anniversary. As luck would have it, there was a show at Gammage on our 6th anniversary!
In early January 2017, I laid out the plan to the minute to make sure we would coincidentally arrive at Gammage during the second half of the show when all the patrons would be inside. Virginia was more than willing to accommodate me in every possible way to ensure the promenade would be spotless clean and private for us. I gave her the ring so she could place it in one of the planters there so I would not have to hold it in my pocket all night where it would be obvious to Samantha. With everything set, it was finally show time!
On January 21st, 2017, we began celebrating our anniversary by going to House of Tricks. Our reservation could not have gone smoother, which was not what I was planning as we left almost an hour earlier than planned. I immediately had to call an audible and think of alternative ideas to use so we walked around for a bit until we stumbled upon Rita’s Italian Ice where we had dessert. Little did Samantha know, this was a distraction to lengthen our walk to Gammage. After dessert, I suggested that we do something fun like walk around campus and see our old stomping grounds. She agreed so we began walking south towards Gammage, but we were still moving too quickly. I texted Virginia to see how much more time I would need to kill. Having nothing open at that hour, I stopped into two different bathrooms along the way where I would text some friends to make them feel just as anxious as I did at that moment.
Finally arriving at Gammage, we ran into Virginia sitting outside knitting during her break. This came as a surprise to not only Sam, but me as well. I was wondering what she was doing outside when she ran up to Sam and threw her arms around her SUPER excited to see her. It wasn’t until the second jumping up and down when I noticed she had the ring box in her left hand so I could grab it – my heart definitely skipped a beat as I reached for it faster than I’ve ever moved in my life. Throwing the ring box in my pocket also now threw a new challenge my way… I had to hide the obvious box bulge sticking out of my right pocket. Virginia invited us in to see all the changes they made on the promenade, which actually was within the last month at that time.
A bunch of Samantha’s former coworkers were excited to see her again along with my former manager, Gary. Virginia asked them to come down while her other employees were cleaning up the promenade for us. As we walked upstairs and headed towards the promenade, I could hear my heart pounding away at my chest and my breathing rapidly increasing. We walked out to the promenade where Virginia was “called back in” on a work-related call. As we walked along the promenade, I quickly scoped out where I could pop the question and saw a homeowner across the street had a huge neon lit sign that said, “LOVE” and knew that was the spot.
We had recently signed the closing documents for our new home. So I asked her how excited she was for us to begin a new adventure in our lives as new homeowners. I then got down on one knee and asked, “How about an even bigger adventure?”
I just want to thank everyone involved with this successful plan because without your help, I wouldn’t have such a tale to tell. So a massive thank you to Virginia Fairchild, Gary Beckert, Michelle Ciambella, Cassie Snarr, Steven King, Carol King, Mom, Dad, Rachel Levine, Lisa Lambson and all the friends and family that helped! And a huge shout-out to the homeowner with the neon “LOVE” sign across the street from Gammage. Although we don’t know anything about each other, you are my hero!
From Samantha: Stephen and I were planning our six year anniversary by going to House of Tricks, then walking around, and then after maybe going for dessert. I thought Stephen was being very thoughtful because I love random small adventures like that.
On the night of the date, Stephen and I got to the restaurant and had a lovely dinner. Our waitress surprised us with prosecco for our anniversary. It was great! Stephen suggested that we walk to ASU Gammage to check out the new construction and revamp of the place. It was at Gammage that we met and worked together for three years. It was not that strange for us to do something like this, and I was not suspicious at this point. As we were walking over, I was distracted because I was playing Pokemon Go. At the same time Stephen keeps making pit stops in the bathrooms throughout the ASU Campus. We arrive at Gammage and see my former boss, Virginia, outside knitting. Not weird. She seemed surprised to see us and hugged me for an unusually long amount of time. She invited us in to see the promenade and the changes made to it. So many old friends were there saying hi, while Stephen is trying to usher us up to the promenade. We get there and the sight is beautiful. The city of Tempe is lit up, the stars are out, and I’m checking out the changes made to the area. We walked to the edge and could see a house in the distance that had a light up sign that said LOVE.
Stephen asked, “Are you excited about buying a house and starting this big adventure?” I nonchalantly answered, “of course! ” “How about an even bigger one?” Stephen asked as he knelt down and opened a small wooden box. I was stunned. Mouth agape, I answer something incoherent. “Is that a yes?” Stephen said nervously. I could barely speak, but managed to nod my head franticly and squeak out a yes.
Stephen relaxed, stood up to put the ring on my finger, and then explodes into the story of hardships in creating the ring and in planning the night. Virginia and Michelle bust in and demanded to take pictures and see the ring. Then we slowly exited as all our old coworkers congratulated us and wished us well. It was truly a night I will never forget.