Andrew Ruggiero, of Boston, planned to be at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, down on one knee with diamond in hand, when his girlfriend crossed the finish line.
He and Melissa Blasczyk, a Wallingford native, did get engaged yesterday, but only after terrifying moments amid tragic events as explosions turned a festive day into a tragic one.
Blasczyk ran the Boston Marathon on Monday, and Ruggerio had secretly arranged to become a finish-line volunteer and had news crew ready to film the proposal at the finish line.
"Trying to play it cool, and not let her know that I had this elaborate plan with a diamond ring at the finish line, with her family, with my family," he said.
Then, the bombs went off.
"We were about 10 minutes up, and I had my back to the fence, and you heard the first loud boom," Ruggiero said.
Melissa had safely been turned back from the finish line, but her family did not yet know that as they stared at the finish line when the first bomb went off.
"I walked away from the race and walked all the way to Cambridge, about a couple miles away," she said. She was getting news of what had happened from Facebook and CNN.
Meanwhile, Blasczyk’s loved ones set out to look for her. They called her cell phone hundreds of times, but there was no answer. Then, a friend spotted Melissa on the street and drove her home.
"Everyone came and gave me a big hug. It was so great to see everyone. He (Ruggerio) was standing there a little awkwardly," Blasczyk said.
It’s because Andrew was debating whether he should pop the question.
"In light of such dark evil, even I felt it important to say it’s not going to deter me from finally marrying the girl that I love," Ruggiero said.
So Ruggerio got down on one knee inside their apartment and asked for Melissa’s hand in marriage.
No date is set yet, but the couple plan to wed in 2014.