Brenda Salmeron thought she was going to the mall with a friend on Saturday, but instead she got the surprise of her life as strangers and familiar faces presented her with dozens of roses and the love of her life appeared on a giant video screen inside the Microsoft store to ask an important question:
Will you marry me?
Family, friends and shoppers in the store at the University Town Center mall watched as Salmeron swooned with emotion. And when Lance Cpl. Daniel Ramirez Jr.’s 10-year-old cousin Donathan Sanchez, wearing replica dress blues of a Marine, got down on one knee and presented her with the ring, there was no doubt that the answer was: A tear-jerking YES!
They have been dating for seven years and had already begun to discuss marriage plans. But Salmeron, 25, of Bradenton, had no idea what was in store for her when a friend asked her to join her for lunch Saturday.
For Ramirez, 24, the last seven years have been the best seven years of his life, he said in a recorded video message that he made in Japan with the romantic backdrop of the Kintai Bridge.
“We’ve had good times, we’ve had hard times and through it all you were there and I never had any doubt that you’d be anywhere else,” Ramirez said.
He went on to express his love and admiration for his prospective bride as John Legend’s “All of Me” played in the background.
“I love you, and you inspire me in so many ways. I would love to wake up next to you in 50 years. It’s all I want,” Ramirez said. “I love you so much. Will you marry me?”
The couple met through MySpace, said Salmeron, a Southeast High School graduate. Soon after, Ramirez, a Palmetto High School graduate, began to attend her church.
“This is insane, I never imagined this,” the blushing bride-to-be said afterward.
She was grateful to him for all that went into the surprise proposal, a sentiment she was able to share when he appeared on Facetime thanks to the help of family and friends.
Ramirez is currently stationed in Japan and has been on tour for two years. He will be home for a brief leave in December, but he will be saving some of his time for their upcoming wedding — with plans already in the works.
“We got ahead of ourselves and started planning a wedding before the engagement,” Salmeron said.
Jessica De Leon: 941-745-7049, @JDeLeon1012
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