OKEECHOBEE – Patrons at the Landing Strip Cafe were treated to a fun surprise along with their breakfast Sunday morning, July 11, when a young man proposed to his girlfriend out on the airfield.
Chaitanya Vala Vala and his fiancee Vysakhi are both from India. He has been in California for about seven years, obtaining his masters degree and is now working in the Bay Area as an IT.
Vysakhi followed him here about six months ago. The two are from the same hometown and have been in a relationship for a long time.
Because Vysakhi’s birthday was this weekend, Vala Vala wanted to surprise her with a trip to Miami. He didn’t want her to know where they were really headed, so he told her they were going to Denver. She did not realize where they were actually going until they boarded the flight to Miami. They met up with a big group of friends to enjoy the weekend. They rented an Airbnb and explored the city. They even had the opportunity to go to Key West.
On Sunday morning, Vala Vala woke Vysakhi up and told her they needed to go, because they had plans for the day. Vala Vala’s friend Luis is a pilot and suggested they fly to Okeechobee to eat breakfast at the Landing Strip to celebrate Vysakhi’s birthday. “Luis did not know I was going to give her a ring,” said Vala Vala. “Initially, I thought I would give it to her in the restaurant or something like that. I wondered what was the best way to do it. I just wanted to impress her.” He had seen a lot of different proposals and wanted his to be special. “I thought about on a rooftop.”
The ring was burning a hole in his pocket as it sat there for two days while he decided how he wanted to propose. “I was just waiting for the right moment to do it.”
Vala Vala’s brother helped by filming the whole thing. As they sat in the restaurant, Vala Vala realized it was time and quietly asked Luis if he minded if he gave her the ring during this outing, and of course, Luis was excited about it.
As they were getting ready to leave, Vysakhi walked in front of him and reached the airplane first. “I started to get on one knee, but at first, she did not realize I was doing that.” When she did realize, she immediately said yes.
It was not until a man came running out of the restaurant and asked them to do it again so he could take a picture that they realized everyone in the restaurant had been watching them. “If I had known, I probably would not have done it there,” he said with a laugh. “Everyone from the restaurant was cheering.”
Because they both want a traditional Indian wedding, they are thinking they will wait until after COVID-19 is completely under control. Weddings in India normally have a huge guest list, sometimes into the thousands. They will get married in India so all their family and friends can attend.