Back in 1995, when I was considerably younger and stupider, I was in love with a girl that I just had to marry. We had been dating for a considerable amount of time and I had decided it was time to 'pop the question,' but wanted to do something different. Doing the traditional getting down on one knee or proposing over a candlelight dinner is just not my style. So, I devised a plan.
Christina had said many times that her favorite place on earth was Wal-Mart. She just loved to shop and Wal-Mart has just about anything a person could ever need. I had a college professor once say, "If you can't get it at Wal-Mart, you don't need it." So, I decided there would be no better place to do it. I know, I'm a romantic.
|It's where dreams come true....at discount prices|
We were headed into town with my friend John and his girlfriend. We were all going out to eat and had to stop by Wal-Mart for a few things first. I had informed John of my plan so he could keep the girls busy until I pulled it off. It was going to be a bit of a challenge. I knew what I wanted to do in my head, but did not know if the store would cooperate.
As soon as we entered the store, I excused myself to the restroom and told them I would catch up. Once they were out of sight, I sought out a manager to explain my plan. I wanted to use the intercom to declare my love.
Since it was a Friday night, the store manager was not there. It was a shift manager who was afraid to grant me permission without talking to his boss first. Since it had taken about 10 minutes to even speak with the shift manager, I was beginning to get concerned about my time. However, this was important and I would do what I had to do.
When he got the manager on the phone, he wanted to talk to me directly. He asked me to tell him exactly what I was going to say. I had rehearsed it, so I told him. He gave me several conditions that I agreed to and asked to put the shift manager back on the phone. After hanging up he told me not to move and disappeared.
At this point it had been almost half an hour since we had entered the store. I was praying that John was doing a good job of keeping the girls busy since this was taking much longer than I had anticipated. I just knew that at any moment they would be returning back to the front of the store and my plan would be foiled.
When he finally came back, he had me sign some papers to relieve Wal-Mart of any liability from the events that were about to transpire. He then said I had to be willing to have our pictures taken for the national Wal-Mart newsletter. I didn't want to consent to this one because I didn't know if Christina would be up for it, but it was a deal-breaker, so I reluctantly agreed. He then wanted to hear what I was going to say again. Finally, after close to an hour of being in the store, he handed me the intercom microphone.
"Attention Wal-Mart shoppers and especially Christina XXXXXXXX of Waltonville. This is Brett Minor and I would like you to answer a question for me. A few days ago I purchased a ring that I want to present to you. I love you and want you to be my wife. Meet me at register 1 if the answer is yes. If you do not arrive within 10 minutes, I will assume the answer is no and leave quietly. I love you and the timer starts now."
I then took my place at the register and waited. As the minutes ticked by a crowd began to gather around me. After a few minutes there was over 100 people standing at the register waiting to see how this was going to unfold. Every woman that came walking around the corner caused the crowd to hold their breath. I would say, "That's not her," and they collectively exhaled with disappointment, "OHHHH." This happened dozens of times.
Every person that came around the corner was coming to watch the show and the crowd continued to grow. Considerately, they never blocked the view between myself and the area she would be coming from. The time continued to click by.
An elderly African-American gentleman approached me and asked, "Are you worried yet?" I wasn't before he asked, but was starting to think about it. I was pretty positive she would say yes, but maybe I was wrong. It was also possible that she wanted to say yes, but was not willing to be a public spectacle and had fled out the back door. Either way, it would be really embarrassing to be standing here rejected in front of all these people.
Someone shouted out, "Thirty seconds left." Everyone started looking at their watches. I stood my ground and tried to maintain my smile. I could hear the people whispering, "She's not coming. Oh, that poor guy. What will he do?"
The crowd began to chant, "TEN!!!"
Oh, great. She really isn't going to show up.
I can't believe I did this. This is the stupidest I idea I have ever had.
Are they even still here? We came in one car.
The exit is too crowded. I won't even be able to make a quick getaway.
My face feels flushed. Is it hot in here?
Wait! Is that John? Yes. They're here.
Why is he by himself? Where is she?
She slowly walked around the corner. Her face was beet red, but she had a big smile. As soon as I acknowledged to the crowd that this was her, they erupted into applause. I put the ring on her finger, kissed her and the crowd cheered again. We got lots of high fives and handshakes as the crowd began to disperse.
A Wal-Mart employee jumped in to get the shot for the newsletter and we were on our way out to the car. I asked her, "What part of the store were you in that it took so long to get to the front?"
She responded, "I considered leaving and saying yes later after making you sweat, but thought that would be too mean. So, I decided to make you think I wasn't coming."