On March 25, 2015, we headed to the airport to go on a trip to “Scottsdale, Arizona”. Little did I know that Jason had some tricks up his sleeve.

Here is the full story:

Lizzie’s Story:

So, Jason had been asking me if I wanted to go to Arizona for a fun vacation and to watch his cousin pitch during Spring Training. It sounded perfect. I love warm weather, sunshine and sports.

Jason told me we needed to leave at about 2 or so that afternoon. I hopped in the car and we headed up to the airport. On the way up, I asked him what time our flight left. “At 5 or 6”, he replied. “Huh”, I thought. “We’re heading up there really early… well, it must be because we’re flying standby. I bet we have to get there early to have a better chance of making the flight.”

I used to think I was pretty perceptive. Needless to say, I am obviously NOT. It only gets worse. 🙂

Walking through the airport, I remember seeing the wall full of logos – KLM/Air France/Delta all together in a trio repeating themselves all the way down the entire wall of the terminal. “Air France!” I said. “How funny would it be if we just went to France randomly”, I laughed. I kept talking about whatever we were talking about before that and didn’t even stop for a breath, because, obviously, I wasn’t serious. Jason was probably dying when I said that.

I remember looking down at my ticket and saying “Gate D2!”. I happily skipped up to the security checkpoint. Needless to say, I did not look at destination on my ticket. I guess Jason somehow gave my passport to the security checkpoint guy. I am still confused how that even happened. Jason is always very gentlemanly and he will say “Here, let me hold on to the tickets” and stuff like that whenever we go places. I guess I’ve just started kind of zoning out now or something when we travel.

We finally got up to the gate. I mentioned to Jason that man, there were a lot of other people there early like us. “That’s so weird,” I said. I kind of just shrugged and said “Huh.. maybe there were a lot of people with layovers today”.

Jason walked me by the desk and suggested we sit across from the gate on some chairs facing away from the desk. Smarty pants. I didn’t even glance at the destination on the electronic board behind the desk. I sat down and was busy texting my friend Heather and my sister Sarah. Heather and I then got on the phone so she could tell me about this ‘amazing’ restaurant in Scottsdale that I just had to go try. I was very excited.

Apparently during this time, the gate was making departure announcements every five minutes or so for “Paris, France, Gate D2”. I remember hearing “Paris, France” and assuming it was for the next gate over or something. Ha.

Since we were flying standby, Jason was at the desk talking to the attendants, trying to get us on the flight. He waved to me a couple times and I waved back, still on the phone.

I eventually looked up and noticed that almost everyone had boarded the plane. “Here we go”, I thought. “I guess we’re about to find out if we are getting on or not”. I walked over to the desk. All the sudden, I noticed that the desk said “Paris”. “Jason!!! We’re at the wrong gate!!!” I totally panicked. Then, I thought, “Wait, it probably says Paris because of the NEXT flight leaving” (since ours is already about to take off). I breathed a sigh of relief. But the next second, I glanced up at the standby list and saw our names on it. I was so confused. I was trying to figure out what was going on – completely confused, when I looked back at Jason. He smiled, shrugged his shoulders and started laughing. It took me a second to realize what was going on. I couldn’t even wrap my brain around everything. I seriously couldn’t fathom that something like this was actually happening. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the possibility that Jason could have blindsided me like this. I usually pick up on things he does pretty quickly. But with this, not at all! He completely had me fooled. I still kind of can’t believe it.

Jason then told me his whole plan. He had plan A, B, C, D, E, F and even G. He had purchased stand by tickets and wanted me to choose where we were going to go. Plan A was Paris. Plan B was Zurich. Plan C was London. Plan D, E and F were Hawaii, Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta. I mean, seriously? Who is this guy? 🙂 He told me that being with him was going to be an adventure, and that our trip to “Arizona” represented the adventures we have if we ended up together. He wanted me to pick wherever I wanted to go most

Right as this was all happening, the flight attendant told us that we had just missed getting on this first flight to Paris.

In case we didn’t get on the first flight, Jason had made reservations for us to get a couples massage at the Grand America Hotel followed by dinner at one of seven fancy restaurants. Yes, he had made reservations at all of them so that I could pick whichever one I wanted.

I chose to stick to Jason’s original plan A and still try to go to Paris. I had never been and wanted to go there more than anything.

I still can’t get over how Jason planned the whole thing out. It was easily the most memorable trip of my entire life. I’ll remember it forever.

Jason’s Story:

I wanted to give Elizabeth a proposal worthy of her. I thought for quite some time on how I should propose.

I told Lizzie for over month that we were going to go down to Scottsdale, Arizona to see my cousin, Bobby, pitch during the Oakland A’s spring training. I told her that we were going tubing down the river in Arizona, that Bobby’s fiancé Kaitie would be there, that we were going to go camping, and Lizzie seemed to be very excited about the prospect of going to Scottsdale. I suspect that Lizzie knew that I was planning on proposing and I’m sure that Lizzie was anticipating a wedding proposal in Arizona. Lizzie packed her bags full of bikinis and shorts to go to Arizona and I came by her house to pick her up and take her to the airport. As Lizzie was furiously packing her things last minute, I slipped her passport into my pocket without her seeing it. Lizzie and I left for the Salt Lake City Airport with plenty of time to spare. Once we got to the airport, I didn’t know where we were going. I wanted to give Lizzie the option to pick where she wanted to go. I had all of the information – we could go to Paris, London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Rome, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, Belize, or Hawaii. My plan was to go to the airport, surprise Lizzie with the potential destination and let her pick where she wanted to go.

Elizabeth and I parked in the long term airport parking and made our way to Terminal 2 to print our Delta tickets. As we walked in the terminal, Lizzie looked at the Delta ticket counter and noticed that the blue and red Delta ticket counter not only had Delta emblazoned on the wall, but also had KLM, and Air France logos alongside their wall. Lizzie happily exclaimed, “wait a minute, it says Air France.” “Wouldn’t it be cool if we just went to France, instead?” I didn’t say anything. I looked at Lizzie and smiled, expecting that she had already figured out that we were going to France. Lizzie looked excited and said, “oh, I guess it’s Delta, but they partner with Air France.” I looked at her to make sure that she wasn’t playing with me and I believed that it was a sincere question, perhaps inspired by a divine purpose. At that point, I resolved to take Lizzie to Paris. I decided that I wasn’t going to ask her where she wanted to go – I already knew. Paris it is.

I asked Lizzie to wait at the end of the line while I went to get our tickets. I went to the ticket counter, showed the ticket agent our passports, and took our standby non-stop tickets to Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, France. I handed Lizzie her ticket expecting her to look at it. She didn’t look at the ticket and we made our way up the escalator to the security check. As we made our way through the security check, I wondered at what point is Lizzie going to realize that we are going to Paris. I thought about how excited she was going to be when she found out. I asked Lizzie for her ticket back and as we approached the security counter, I handed over both of our passports and tickets to the agent. Lizzie did not notice the passports and the security agent didn’t mention anything to us about the international travel. Lizzie and I proceeded through security and were on our way to Gate D, the international terminal.

As is my custom and certainly superstition, I walk directly to the flight gate and talk to the ticket counter to see where I fall in order of merit on the standby list as well as to find out if there are any delays or unforeseen issues. Lizzie and I walked straight to Gate D2. As we approached the gate, Lizzie noticed the large number of people standing at the gate. Lizzie stated, a matter of factly, “Wow. There sure are a lot of people going to Scottsdale.” I laughed and looked at her as we approached the gate which had our flight number, destination, and time clearly and largely depicted. I told Lizzie to stand on the walkway in front of the ticket counter as I went to go ask the agent the status of the flight. Lizzie did not notice anything. I walked back to Lizzie and asked if she wanted to get a Jamba Juice while we waited to find out if we were going to get on the flight.

Lizzie and I walked back to the gate and I sat Lizzie down in an empty row of chairs diagonally across from the Paris gate. I was surprised that Lizzie did not notice any of the clues that gave away the surprise. As Lizzie pulled out her phone, I walked back to the Paris gate to see if there were any updates. Discovering that we were # 1 and # 3 on the standby list, I turned the video camera option on my iPhone on and proceeded to record our surroundings and narrate our experience thus far focusing specifically on Lizzie’s lack of situational awareness and future surprise.