Ashleigh and Scott
How We Met
I worked in the same, family-owned restaurant in my hometown since I was 16 years old. Even when college pulled me away, I always came back to work at Arnie’s – the owners, the staff, and the store itself felt like family. After I received my Bachelor’s, I went to the owners with an idea to improve how we train and manage our staff. Their response was to promote me to Manager and send me off to the largest location they had in Grand Rapids. The location and staff tripled in size, and I was nervous on my first big day alone managing the employees. I was only 22, and the majority of the staff were either the same age as me or older. I knew I had to capture the staff from Day 1, or else I would never gain their respect. I gathered my servers in a huddle in the kitchen to give my “speech,” and after I finished, everyone was silent until one guy started clapping his hands and saying, “alright, let’s go!” Next thing you know, everyone was smiling and cheering as they began working.
I gave him an appreciative smile and nod, and he smiled and nodded back. Scotty had the appreciation and respect of the staff. He had worked there almost as long as I had worked at my hometown location. Everyone had wanted him to take up the new manager position, but he turned it down. He had also just gotten his Bachelor’s, and so he was looking for something “new.” I guess he found something to keep him there for a while longer, and from that first day I started, he began to be my quiet supporter. It’s hard to manage 60 minimum wage employees – everyone is over-worked, underpaid, and hard to motivate – but every day Scotty made everyone smile and laugh effortlessly. I avoided “mingling” with the staff to protect my image as “the boss,” but it’s hard for a 22 year-old to ignore the pull to hang out with the same people she sees everyday. It was just a drink with friends here, a party there, but I knew I was caught when he looked at me, hung-over and wearing the same hair/makeup/clothes I wore the day before, and said, “you’re the first girl to ever give me butterflies.”
It was so sweet and honest – something refreshing from my past experiences. We began seeing each other regularly shortly after that. We kept it secret at work – a smile here or there, a wink, a note in my car door, flowers in the office. We were finally so in love that I couldn’t justify putting my job before my relationship, and I went to tell my supervisor. To my surprise, he not only said that he knew already, but he also laughed and said he met his wife the same way. Everyone from the owners to the management to the staff were excited and happy for us from Day 1, and together we made our last year at Arnie’s one of teamwork, laughter, and friendship with our Arnie’s family.
How He Asked
Since I was a kid, one of my favorite pastimes has always been Tigers Games at Comerica Park in Detroit. I love everything about ball games – the announcers, the crowd, the skyline of Detroit in the background, and yes, the game too. I learned to love the Tigers from my mom, who frequently attends the Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp in the summer. As part of participation in this program, each player gets free tickets for their family to a game where they will be recognized on the field. This celebratory game fell on September 26, 2016. Scotty was supposed to get out of work early and meet me at home to ride with my mom to the game. At the last second, he had to bail and said he would meet us over there. I was a little irritated, but more of at his work than at him. He met up with us at the restaurant, and we all walked over to the park. Then he said he forgot his wallet in the car and had to run back. I tried to go with him and was held back by my step-dad, who distracted me by buying me a beer. We got up in the stands and began watching the game.
At around the 4th inning, the Tigers’ cheerleaders and mascot, Paws, came up to our section to play Tigers’ trivia – the winner was to receive an autographed baseball. We all got up to cheer and hope to be picked, and, to my excitement, I was chosen as the contender! They asked me a question, which I didn’t know the answer to, and allowed me to ask the crowd for help. With their vote, I got the answer correct and won the game ball! Only, it wasn’t a game ball, but rather, the ball said, “Ashleigh, will you marry Scott.” I turned around, and there he was, on one knee, asking me to marry him. Crying, I said yes, and right after, the crowd erupted in cheers!
The celebration of the crowd was for J.D. Martinez’s home run that he scored at the exact same moment. I took the cheer, and the home run, as a good sign for the future. The surprise did not end with the proposal itself. Family members came streaming up the stands to congratulate us, as they were all secretly watching from afar. After the game, we went to a hotel where everyone was staying the night. It turns out, Scotty had gotten out of work hours before he was supposed to in order to put his plan in motion, and he certainly thought of everything to make the night magical. There were roses and champagne in our room when I arrived. Since I didn’t know I was staying the night, he even thought to call my boss and obtain permission for me to have the next day off. He also secretly packed me a bag of clothing and shoes (multiple items, since he knows I like to consider my options), and he even bought me makeup to freshen up with.
He bought multiples of everything because he did not know what I wore, and all the foundations were about 5 shades too dark for my fair skin tone (he thought they would work because I am “tan”). He was too worried to bring my own in case I noticed it was missing. To this day, I still find his makeup mix-up to be the sweetest part of the whole scheme. We went out on the town and had a few drinks with family. We all shared in laughs, memories, and our plans for the future. The care and thoughtfulness he put into this proposal reflects exactly what kind of man he is and has always been – someone who looks out for me, who thinks about me in all his decisions, and who loves me truly. The love and support we share from our family only serves as a sign that our future will be filled with love and laughter for decades to come.