Kirsti and Justin
How We Met
Justin and I met on Bumble the summer of 2016. I swiped right due to his ability to rock a bow tie and his very outgoing bio. Our first date consisted of Mexican food and multiple margaritas, and we ended the night singing to old 90’s music in his truck. He was charming, handsome and the funniest guy I had ever met! I texted my mother and told her that it was the best first date I had ever been on. We didn’t take our time when making it official. We knew our lives would never be the same. I was new to Florida, I had moved around quite a bit to follow my dreams of being an animal trainer and Justin was a born and raised Floridian who just moved to Naples, Florida for a new job. Justin knows how much my job as a Show Keeper at the Naples Zoo means to me and he made sure to make that a HUGE part of the proposal.
How He Asked
It was a Saturday morning, Justin told me that he was going fishing for the weekend, which was nothing new, so he left the night before and took his boat. We had a roommate living with us at the time and I remember hearing him on the phone very early in the morning, at least I thought. As I slowly open my eyes, thinking it is around 5 am, I see the sun blazing through my window. A knock on the door follows, with my roommate asking if I was ok. When I asked what time it was, it was 7:45! I was supposed to be at work by 7:30 and my phone died overnight! I jump out of bed, throw on my uniform and rush out the door. I didn’t have a chance to shower, or even brush my teeth! When I arrive at work, I was told we were changing up our first show. My boss wanted to try something different, also nothing new to me.
She wanted to end the show with the new painting behavior that I had just trained our African Grey Parrot, Wags to do. We began the show as normal and all was going well, but once we were approaching the end, my coworker Michelle, who was speaking the show, began getting emotional. I was so confused and even concerned! I turned to look at her to see if she was ok, and by the time I turned to face the crowd again, my parents, brother, close friends and even members of my dance team had entered the stadium! I immediately burst into tears and knew what was happening.
Within a few minutes, Justin came from behind the stage, got on one knee, handed me the most beautiful ring and asked me to marry him. He was so composed and handled it so well! I ugly cried, SO hard!
Little did I know that the entire Naples Zoo was in on it, and had the proposal on Facebook live! Local news stations even got word of the proposal and we lived a bit of the famous life for the next week. Everyone seemed to know that I was the Zookeeper who got engaged with the help of my bird, Wags. And to think… I almost slept through my own proposal! He proposed November 18th, 2017 and we are getting married November 18th, 2018 in Odessa, Florida.