When Welland Tribune reporter Maryanne Firth was assigned to cover mysterious pink hearts popping up around Welland, Ont. she never thought she would end up covering her own marriage proposal.
More than a month ago, Firth wrote a story about how no one was coming forward to claim the pink heart signs that had become the talk of the community.
About a week ago, new signs began appearing beside the existing ones. While the others were posted without a message, the new signs indicated that something would be going on at a local park on Sunday afternoon.
“Luck would have it, or so I thought, that it was my weekend to work,” Firth writes in the Tribune. “ I’d get to find out exactly what the creator of the mystery hearts had been planning all along.”
So on Sunday, Firth joined a crowd of curious people who had gathered at Chippewa Park in Welland. There, Firth saw a man dressed in a suit with a box (complete with pink heart) over his head, handing out flowers.
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“He handed one to me – a sweet, but familiar gesture, and then continued passing them out to others,” she writes.
Then – the masked man gathered up the remaining flowers and turned towards Firth. He removed the box from his head. It was Firth’s boyfriend, Ryan St. Denis.
“This was the man who I've loved for the past eight years. Who I've built a life with. This was all for me,” Firth writes. “Ryan got down on one knee and as I tried unsuccessfully to hold back tears, he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. No pressure, right? Of course I was ecstatic. Shaking. Crying. I was surrounded by strangers taking photos and video of our moment, but in an instant, they all felt like family.”
Her boyfriend had spent weeks working on his surprise proposal and had sworn Firth’s family to secrecy.
Firth isn’t the first journalist to cover her own proposal. Last year, Alabama reporter Jillian Pavlica was tricked into reading her own proposal on air.
This past November, CNBC’s retail reporter Courtney Reagan thought she was doing a holiday shopping segment on engagement rings, but she ended up being surprised by her boyfriend of seven years with a sparkler of her own.
But for Firth and her now fiancé, it all comes down to how well he knew her.
“It all boils down to the fact that Ryan St. Denis knows me better than I know myself,” Firth writes. “He knew I’d see the signs. He knew I’d be curious. And he knew my nose for news would drive me to unearth the secret.”
“How he kept it from me all this time, I'll never know,” she continues. “What I do know is that I am one lucky girl and I owe a heartfelt thank you to everyone, especially the man in the box, who made this the most memorable day of my life.”
Congratulations to the happy couple!