CHICAGO — The message was hard to miss: "MARRY ME" written in the snowy grass of Maggie Daley Park downtown, right next to the ice skating ribbon.
It caught the eye of WGN-TV reporter Shannon Halligan as she flew by in SkyCam9, not to mention the many workers and residents with a view of the park from nearby skyscrapers. Shannon tracked down the happy couple behind the message, and spoiler alert: she said yes!
The man behind the message is Bob Lempa, who made big Valentine's Day plans this year. He wanted to write a proposal message so big his girlfriend Peggy Baker could see it from her 37th floor window in the Blue Cross Blue Shield building. The couple have been together for nine years since they met at a party for a mutual friend, and he was ready to pop the question.
"I had been by Maggie Daley Park a number of times just getting the feel of where I could do it, how big it would have to be, because Peggy’s on the 37th floor so I knew it had to be big to be seen," Lempa said.
But when the big day rolled around, there was one problem: no snow. So he decided to wait until Tuesday, when there was finally enough on the ground for him to clear away and write his message. It wasn’t an easy surprise to pull off. The letters were 45 feet tall and 31 feet wide, and took a little over six hours to make.
Even in a very high-traffic and high profile area area, Peggy said it was a total surprise.
"Other people had noticed it earlier but I hadn’t noticed it until I saw a few other people looking out the window, so I knew something was going on but I really didn’t know it would be for me," she said. "It was so huge, and a big and bold statement,"
The reaction from others was just as big as the proposal.
"It has been exciting, to say the least. We have been overwhelmed by it," Lempa said.
It was bigger than either could have imagined.
"I’m definitely surprised by the response. Of course, my co-workers would say congratulations and that’s wonderful, but I had no idea that radio stations or the park district would want our picture and wish us success and congratulations," Peggy said.