We are excited to share with all of you our love story and we hope that you all will enjoy reading it!
I moved to Charlotte, NC in April 2021 after transferring to Charlotte from Miami with American Airlines. I started flying out of Charlotte airport after getting my job back from being furloughed for about 6 months. Also, I wanted to be a part of my best friend Brian Davis’s church plant at Plaza Baptist Church located in the NoDa district of Charlotte, NC. In October 2021, I made a decision to become a member at Plaza Baptist Church. In order to become a member at his church, you have to attend a membership class which Plaza calls “The Weekender.” It was at the Weekender where I met a girl name Sarah Shackleford. It was through my friendship with Sarah that I learned about her American Airlines flight attendant friend based in Philadelphia named Dee. Sarah met Dee at a church in Philadelphia, PA while Sarah had a summer dietetic internship in the area during the fall of 2019. Through Sarah, I learned about her other American Airlines flight attendant friend based in Charlotte named Candace Barnes. Candace and Sarah got connected because of Dee. On November 3rd, 2021 I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and work with Candace! The chances of working with someone that you personally know or know of is really rare and I got lucky that day. Candace and I worked a trip with a San Juan layover where we would become friends. Just a little over three weeks later I was scheduled to work a 4 day trip over the Thanksgiving holidays. On November 25th, 2021 (Thanksgiving day) I ran into Candace at the Miami airport before traveling to San Pedro Sula, Honduras for my layover that night. During our conversation I learned that her flight attendant best friend Dee was going to layover in San Pedro Sula as well and asked if I wanted to meet her? I love meeting new people and of course my answer was an emphatic YES! Candace contacted Dee to let her know that I was going to be laying over in San Pedro Sula as well and asked her if she wanted to meet me? I would find out later that Dee said yes to meeting me at the layover hotel in San Pedro Sula. Once I got to the hotel me and my entire crew enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast organized by the hotel we stayed at. It was a very delicious meal and it was a great way to bond with my crew since all of us were away from family and friends during the holidays. After dinner I went up to my room to relax and waited for Dee to arrive. Moments later I received a text from Candace telling me that Dee is downstairs with her crew having their Thanksgiving feast, along with a photo of Dee so I could find her. I made my way to the restaurant downstairs with the photo of Dee on my phone feeling both excited and nervous at the same time. Once I got to the restaurant, I walked around the entire room looking for this beautiful girl and finally found her. I found a group of people who looked like an airline crew and tapped the girl who looked like the girl in the photo on the shoulder to ask if she was Candace's friend Dee? She said yes with excitement and gave me a hug. We talked for about 20 minutes and that night was the start of our friendship.
After our layover in San Pedro Sula, I worked the first flight out to Miami and discovered a note from Dee because she brought my plane in the night before. The note said: “If Alex based in CLT is working this plane to MIA, Candace’s friend Dee based in PHL says hi.” Later that day I would run into Dee at the Boston airport during some ground time and that was the day we decided to start a work group chat with Candace. Over the next five months the 3 of us grew in friendship through the group chat talking about work, interests like musicals, hobbies, and other things. One day while watching the new Batman movie I get a call from Dee which I thought it was random that I was getting a call from her. Maybe it was a mistake? After the movie was over I gave her a call back and we ended up talking for 45 minutes. Talking to her was so easy and wasn’t awkward at all for our first chat over the phone. I would say this was the day I started to develop romantic feelings for Dee. One week in March I would run into Dee at the Charlotte airport and we ended up talking for a few minutes while we sat in rocking chairs in the atrium. This conversation was monumental because it would lead to Dee asking me out the following week.
I was super excited about my first date with Dee and ecstatic to get to know her more! I flew up to Philadelphia and Dee picked me up to begin our adventure that she organized! We first had breakfast at Federal Donuts where we shared each other’s testimonies and learned about our families. Then we went to her church where I got to meet some of her church friends. After the church service we went to a boba tea shop and then Tyler’s State Park for a friendly competition of frisbee golf. The rain cut our frisbee golf date early and we drove around the surrounding area of Langhorne. We had great conversations about theology, Disney, and more! As we were driving to pick up our cheesesteaks at Curly’s for lunch, I spotted a Giant (local grocery store) and asked Dee if we could stop by to check it out because I love grocery stores. Dee was thinking this in her mind: “wow a guy who wants to explore a grocery’s store, you know what I think this relationship might work!” We had so much fun in Giant and we got to learn about each other’s favorite snacks and candy. After Giant we drove over to Curly’s to pick up our cheesesteak order and lunch there. One of the reasons that I knew this relationship could actually work was the fact that Dee loves food and her restaurant decisions on our first date affirmed that she was a Foodie! Our 7 plus hour first date showed me that Dee was a special woman and I definitely wanted to get to know her more, so I asked her out on a second date. She said Yes! We both realized that our next date wouldn’t be until May 4th which was going to be month later. So I asked Dee: what would be some suggestions of how we could keep the momentum of our relationship going since it was going to be long distance? Dee said: “how about a phone conversation a week?” To which I responded with a yes, along with a suggestion of asking a thoughtful question a day. We both agreed to this. Between the weekly phone conversation and daily thoughtful questions we were able to learn so much about each other! Some of the questions that we asked each other: Who brings out the best in you? What is your ideal way to socialize with friends? Would you rather be a land or sea creature? If you could tell your teenage self one thing, what would that be? What is a book that you have read the most times excluding the Bible? When you get frustrated or angry, how do you respond?
It was my turn to plan the date and I decided to have it in my home town Durham, NC! I picked Dee up from the airport and we drove to Parker and Otis to pick up sandwiches for our picnic at Duke Gardens! Once we got to our picnic spot I surprised Dee with two of her favorite snacks: Sour Patch Kids and Voodoo Potato Chips! We got to learn more about each other’s families over lunch and then went on a walk around the park. It got hot and I decided to take Dee to a tea house because I learned from previous conversations that she loves tea. Over tea time we talked about what God has been teaching us and our personal relationships with Christ. After tea time I took Dee to a place that became a second home for me throughout most of my life: Shanghai Chinese Restaurant. I wanted to show Dee a part of life that was very important to me and it was my parents’ old restaurant before they sold it in 2018. Dee got to meet a lot of the staff that watched me grow up in the restaurant which was special to me. We had a good dinner with amazing food and great conversations about many different topics! The last stop was an outlet mall with a fun activity because I knew Dee loved shopping. We went to different stores and picked out outfits that we thought the other person would like or wear for a specified occasion. As we were walking to the car after our activity, I asked Dee to be my girlfriend and she said yes! Over the next 2-3 days I learned that the title boyfriend/girlfriend mean’t something different to both of us. So I clarified with Dee that to me boyfriend/girlfriend mean’t we were exclusively dating one another meaning I was only getting to know Dee. Over a phone conversation I asked Dee a question that provided her comfort: What do you need from me to serve you better right now? This question has helped us love and serve one another better throughout our relationship. From May-November we have traveled the globe, ate a lot of good food, met all the Parker siblings, met each other’s friends, learned about each other’s characters, grown in our relationship, and so much more!
I finally picked up the ring from Allen’s Jeweler on Thursday November 10th, 2022 and it was beautiful! My grand plan was to surprise Dee on her last day of vacation with her friend Grace Lee in Belize. So on Sunday I flew down to Belize City. Dee didn’t know that I was secretly planning the proposal with her friend Grace Lee who was a huge part in making this engagement a success! Before picking me up from the airport Grace told Dee that they were going to have a photo shoot that day which was a cover up for the proposal. After picking me up from the airport, the 3 of us drove 2 hours south of Belize City to a place called Hopkins that both Grace and Dee discovered during their vacation. Grace found us a restaurant that had a beach on site and the staff allowed us to have our photo shoot on their beach before dinner. When we got to the beach we had a quick photo shoot. When the sun started to set I initiated a time for all of us to have story time where me and Dee would share our love story to Grace. So I took out the 10 boarding passes that I made which highlighted monumental moments in our relationship with #10 being our proposal. I used the boarding passes as a guide to share our love story to Grace. When it got to the 10th boarding pass stating: THE PROPOSAL and Will you Marry me?! I took out the ring box and dropped down on one knee and asked Dee to Marry Me. She said yes!!!! We are both super excited and can’t wait to celebrate with all of you at our wedding on September 23, 2023! See y’all there!