Watching as her boyfriend Matt Screws meandered through Evans last Friday night, Emily Gulledge was worried about whether they would make their movie on time.
Screws, as it turned out, wasn’t worried at all. He had already decided to forgo the movie in favor of a happy ending.
He proposed to Gulledge using an electronic billboard behind the former Stonecrest Grill.
“I got the idea sitting at a red light,” said Screws. “I saw one of those billboards and it just set off that idea in the back of my head.”
He said because of a friend of a friend he avoided the normal long-term contracts outdoor advertising requires and rented the space for half an hour. He said the location of the sign meant dropping to one knee in, of all places, the parking lot at Lowe’s.
“She hadn’t seen the sign yet, so she thought I was a little crazy,” Screws said. “I had to point it out to her.”
He said friends and family were staked out in unobtrusive locations and swarmed into the lot when it became obvious she had said yes. Screws said he was never concerned about proposing in such a public way or the story he might have to concoct if Gulledge had seen the sign before he picked his moment.
“I was sort of totally winging it,” he said.
The couple has not set a date, but may try to get things arranged before Screws’ brother is deployed to Afghanistan in November.
“It’s not perfect,” he said. “But if that’s what it takes for him to be there then that’s what we’ll do.”
Although the proposal was his grand romantic gesture, Screws hasn’t completely wrapped his proposal surprises. He asked that she not be contacted for this story.
He thought it might be nice for her to read about it in the paper.