Thursday, January 18, 2018
Human Interest

From This Day: Proposal required a trip to Japan

TAMPA — Chris Sagan hadn't been on a plane in 15 years.

He nervously contemplated his first flight alone as he flew across the globe to propose to Danielle Urbanski.

"I mentioned the idea when I asked for her father's permission to marry her," said Chris, 27, a maintenance employee for the Pinellas County School Board from Clearwater.

The great lengths Chris went to paid off when Danielle became his wife on Dec. 14 in front of 120 guests at the Rusty Pelican restaurant in Tampa.

"We are just completely ourselves with each other," said Danielle, 26, a kindergarten teacher at Garrison-Jones Elementary School in Dunedin. "I know I'm going to be loved by him and taken care of by him."

Thirty matches popped up in Chris' online dating profile one day in 2010. In the group, he spotted a pretty girl with similar interests: outdoors, country music, family.

So, he sent a message to her.

The message Danielle received from Chris intrigued her. They met at the Olive Garden for their first date and then went bowling.

"I liked that he knew what he wanted. He had his life in order," Danielle said. "Most guys my age weren't like that."

Chris was so sure, a month later he was introducing Danielle to his family as his girlfriend.

The easy rapport between them led to late nights and weekends until finally the couple closed the distance by moving in together in June 2011.

"We'd spent a lot of time together and it never seemed like enough," she said.

Shortly after moving in, Danielle went to visit her sister, Kimberly DeMoss, 27, a military wife who was preparing to give birth in Misawa, Japan. Danielle spent the summer there with her family, helping out with her new niece.

During Christmas break from school, Danielle's whole family planned to return to Japan to celebrate Christmas together.

"She was really upset because she wanted to spend Christmas with my daughter and me," Chris said.

Little did Danielle know, she would be getting a special delivery two days after the holiday.

Chris arrived in Tokyo, caught a bus to another airport, and boarded another plane to Misawa on Dec. 27, 2011.

He came prepared with a box covered in postage, made to look like it had traveled from the United States.

Danielle's dad and brother picked up Chris and the package from the airport and drove him back to DeMoss' apartment building.

Danielle's dad and brother went inside and delivered the package. She'd been expecting something, since Chris had promised to mail her a present.

Inside the box was a DVD.

Danielle put it in and pressed play. Michael Buble's Hold On began to play as photos of their entire relationship scrolled across the screen. In between, words appeared.

"I want to spend the rest of my life with you, so I got your father's approval."

The scrolling type said Chris had a question that needed to be asked in person, so Danielle could wait until she got home or open the door.

"I could hear the DVD playing," Chris said. "For 45 seconds after it stopped, she was turning to everyone and asking if they were serious."

When Danielle opened the door, Chris was kneeling in snow gear with the ring.

"I was just so shocked," Danielle said. "I didn't think he'd come halfway around the world to propose."

Soon, she found her family had already welcomed Chris when they brought out a snowboard for him for an outing the next day.

"I think they just knew how happy we were together," Danielle said. "He must have done something right."

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