A Different Proposal

Yes, I asked her at the airport.

March 29th, 2017

I proposed to one of my favorite people on the planet. And how I went about asking her seemed to not just surprise her, but many people around us as well. I’ve told the story to close friends or anyone who might’ve seen the one photo on social media and stopped me in person. Well, this is where I give the play-by-play, or at least answer some questions maybe.

Did she know I was going to propose?

Fuck no. Luckily she is one of the most nonobservant people when it comes to some things. Also, I learned later that a vast majority of modern proposals are planned as a couple. That’s crazy because what’s the point then? Just be classy, traditional, a man (strong woman), or whatever you want to call yourself, just keep it a surprise!

Why the airport?

I started thinking about seriously marrying her somewhere in Fall. Once that began, the bigger question became how. I course didn’t want to be cliché in any form. Her and I met in NYC, but we’ve done a ton both in and out of the city. So after racking my brain and bouncing a couple ideas off of my best friend I came up with the airport. Naturally it had to be JFK because even on LGA’s best day it’s far more of a shit show gamble.

Important note

She always jokes about me knowing the most random collection of people and this plan couldn’t have happened without one from my childhood. Another best friend, who I’ve know since the third grade, works for Delta Air Lines and talked to all the proper people on my behalf. Note: it all started with needing clearance from The Port Authority of NY & NJ, which I luckily got.

How’d I get her there?

We’ve flown many places together and are very happy doing it, especially once she deferred all travel (mainly flying) decisions to me. I carefully starting bringing up a trip idea we’d been talking about for a while. Once she said ok to taking a late season ski/exploration trip to Montana I was set.

Go time!

That morning I was secretly texting my inside-man who’d flown in from Atlanta the night before for a meeting and to run point of the proposal coordination at the airport. She passed out in the car to the airport, which just allowed me to exchange messages about the team running late. Arriving at JFK we went to Terminal 2 to avoid the longer security lines at Terminal 4, which is true at times and wouldn’t throw her off.

After trying to stall in the terminal I luckily got the go-ahead and had to act completely normal, even though I had an ocean of butterflies in my stomach. We made our way to the shuttle bus area that takes you between terminals and were stopped by a Delta agent asking what gate we were headed to. My friend had already informed her that the guy with the freshly shaved head was our man. From here on out this woman ad-libbed an amazing scenario.

After seeing our boarding passes she offered to shuttled us to the next terminal in one of their Porches, which they use for Delta One passengers making tight connections. She claimed it was something they were trying out and my soon to be fiancé just assumed it had something to do with my SkyMiles status.

We load into the car and drive out to the tarmac, but I then start to wonder how the hell I’m going to just get out of the car without it seeming extremely suspect. Funny enough, we get to our target ramp and she simply stops the car. There’s a pause is smalltalk and I just ask if we can get out. Sure enough we do and the woman I’m about to ask to marry me still just assumes this is an amazing experience. I come around the car to open her door and as she gets out to look up at a huge aircraft wing she faces away. Simply perfect timing.

I take a knee and fumble the ring out of my pocket with my sausage fingers, and as she turns around I just ask: "Are you surprised?"

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Wrap up

My friend appears from behind a wall of ground equipment with Delta staff, the head of security and some other people who all made it happen. Everyone congratulates us and after a bit we head for the lounge where flowers were waiting for us. My new fiancé actually said she’d give the new service a huge rating if there was a survey. We had to tell her that it was all part of the act. Wonderfully oblivious like I said. Off to Montana.

I love you Ginni Chen

And of course I sent a thank you card to my friend and the folks of Delta’s JFK team.