Kelly Sommariva was standing in front of an otter enclosure, playing with the camera on what she may have thought was just another regular work assignment. Then something in the tank caught her eye. And it made her turn around to witness something she’ll likely never forget.
Sommariva is a journalist from Denver, Colorado. She works for local news channel 9News and, as part of her role as an interactive media producer, is sometimes required to go and shoot stories to be used on the network. It’s possible, then, that she thought nothing of it when she was given what turned out to be a very unusual assignment.
Indeed, when her editor asked her to do a segment at Denver’s Downtown Aquarium in July 2017, Sommariva happily obliged. But while she was told she had to go there to film the otters, there was also another reason why she had to be at that place at that particular time.
As it turned out, in fact, Sommariva had not been sent to the aquarium for a day of work at all. But she wouldn’t realize that for a while. So, when she got there, the journalist diligently set up her camera and began filming the playful otters in the water.
At this point, moreover, the journalist was blissfully unaware that there was no story featuring otters planned at all. It was all just a ruse, set up by someone very close to her indeed.
That’s right: Sommariva’s boyfriend, Jensen, had been in touch with her boss. Specifically, Jensen had phoned the TV station and asked the editor to send his girlfriend on a shoot at the aquarium.
And Sommariva’s boss played ball and sent her down to do some filming. In fact, Sommariva was the only one who wasn’t in on the secret. But, given what happened next, it was probably for the best that the producer had no clue prior to arriving at the aquarium.
A video showing why the journalist was really there has gone viral since it was uploaded to YouTube. And as the footage shows something completely unexpected happening at the aquarium, it’s perhaps no wonder that it has since garnered over 30,000 likes.
The clip starts with Sommariva setting up her shot in front of the otter enclosure. She leans down over the lens, trying to get the right angle, and adjusts it accordingly.
But there in the water, there appears to be a piece of cardboard lying face down. At this point, however, Sommariva didn’t know just how significant that sign would prove to be.
The next shot was clearly filmed using Sommariva’s camera, and it shows the writing on the cardboard more visibly. Her heart must have stopped, however, when she read the first line: “Hello Kelly.”
Then the video shows the journalist reading the placard, before turning around with her mouth wide open in shock. So, what did the rest of the message say? And who was it from?
It read, “Look at us, now look at your man. Now back to us, now back at your man. Now say yes to marrying your man!” And as she spun around, her boyfriend of three years appeared and immediately dropped to one knee.
So that’s why she had been lured to the aquarium! It was all part of an elaborate proposal plan, and even her boss was in on it. A shocked Sommariva covered her mouth with her hands as it all sunk in.
Then she did indeed say “Yes” to her man, and the couple shared a romantic embrace in front of the otters, who had done a sterling job. It turned out that the aquarium staff had placed tasty treats underneath the sign so that they would dig underneath it and flip it over for Sommariva to read.
Meanwhile, Sommariva’s co-worker, Raquel Villanueva, was also present for the proposal – and delighted for her friend. In July 2017 she shared her thoughts with Inside Edition on this unique and touching event, expressing her joy for the couple.
“I felt so overwhelmed with happiness when I saw Kelly read that sign,” Villanueva added of the 2013 proposal. “I knew it would be a moment that she could tell people about for years, with the exact same excitement she had that day.”
And it turns out that Villanueva had a small role to play in the coming together of the proposal plan, too. In particular, she was the one who had put Jensen in touch with the aquarium in the first place. “Kelly has always loved animals,” she explained to Inside Edition.
Since the memorable event, meanwhile, the happy couple in the video have tied the knot. And they even made a nod to their very unique proposal story during their big day: by putting a figure of an otter on top of their wedding cake.
So, while some women would detest being proposed to in such a public place, it all ended well for the unsuspecting journalist and her boyfriend. And it’s perhaps fair to say that Villanueva was thrilled with her boyfriend’s elaborate plan involving some playful otters. In fact, she even accepted his proposal before seeing the ring!