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A Christmas Engagement in Rockefeller Center

2011 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
Jason Kempin, Getty Images

This past weekend, I gave (and received) a very special early Christmas present. I gave a diamond ring and she said “yes”.  Here is how it happened…

The Plan

The plan was simple: get Kate in front of the tree at Rockefeller Center and pop the big question.  The team members I recruited to help with the mission were her sister Jenna and my best friend Dan.  I couldn’t ask to go to the city on my own – because it would be too out of character.  That’s where Jenna came in – invite us to go into New York for the day for some shopping, sight-seeing and to visit the famous tree.  After convincing her that it would be fun and wouldn’t be too crowded (a lie) – she was sold.  Step 1: check.

Getting to the city was the easy part – but now I needed something to kick it up a notch.  My buddy Dan happens to work for MSNBC – which happens to be directly across from the tree.  He also happens to be one heck of a sax player, so it was a no brainer to include him in this special moment.  He was to be camped out across from the tree – set to go into a romantic serenade as we were taking a picture.

Action

The day had come and I was a nervous wreck.  I knew everything would work out – and even if it didn’t – it would be just as memorable.  We were just a block from the tree when I got an awful text – Dan was running late!  Immediately I let Jenna know that we had to stall.  After a quick stop for a hot dog and knish we kept walking.

Just as we were passing the Rainbow Room entrance of 30 Rock – I got the confirmation – Dan was in position.  Everything seemed to be going as planned.  As we were turning the corner, a mere minute away from the question – a woman tapped me on the shoulder and said something I will never forget, “Ohhhhh, something got you!”  I looked over and realized a bird had decided that out of the thousands of people on the streets, he would use me as a toilet.  With a used napkin and hot dog wrapper, Jenna began cleaning me off as best she could.  This is all good luck, right?

The Moment

After taking a quick picture at the side of the tree, I moved us into position where Dan was to be waiting.  For a brief moment – it seemed that the sea of people surrounding us backed off and opened up the perfect place for us to take another quick picture.  As we turned around to face the camera, I looked over and saw Dan.  After giving him a quick head nod, he made a dash toward us and began belting out “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.

Amazed that we had run into our friend in the middle of this giant city – who happened to be playing saxophone – Kate screamed out his name in delight and wrapped her arms around him.  Knocking him off his instrument, he had to stop playing and that was my cue to take over.  I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I do remember being on one knee and looking up – both of us filled with happy tears.

City
Brad, WOBM-AM

The Aftermath

Dozens of people had stopped what they were doing and all of a sudden we were at the center of the busiest city in the world.  Cheers and congratulations erupted from the crowd.  It was an amazing feeling and one that will never be forgotten.

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