A marriage proposal is already exhilarating enough, but Texas storm chaser Alex Bartholomew decided to up the ante by proposing to his girlfriend in the middle of a tornado last week.
It took months for Bartholomew to plan the whirlwind proposal to his girlfriend, Britney Cayton, but what he did pull off resulted in stunning photos that have since gone viral.
“I got the idea to do this months ago,” Bartholomew told Global News. “I bought the ring in early March in preparation for chase season. Up until the day of the proposal, my chase season had been a dud. But on May 16, the day of the proposal, it looked to be the first real chance of accomplishing this.”
So Bartholomew, Cayton and friend Jason Cooley (who was in on the plan) left for their trip to the Texas Panhandle with Cayton unaware that the trip was anything more than just an opportunity to chase some tornadoes with friends.
As they neared McLean, Texas, the group spotted a large tornado in the distance but were still too far away, so they continued on until they hit a traffic snag. That’s when Cooley noticed a small rope tornado close by and pulled the car over.
While Cayton was busy taking pictures, Bartholomew positioned himself on one knee.
Needless to say, Cayton was caught by surprise.
“We got out to look at it and take pictures and before I realized he was on one knee,” Cayton said. “Everything around me didn’t matter anymore and I forgot the tornado. I didn’t realize Jason was taking pictures … All I could see is Alex and I couldn’t help but start crying and nodding ‘yes.’”
She added, “I wasn’t nervous or afraid at all because I knew it was far enough away and it was out in the middle of nowhere so no one was in any danger of being harmed. It was exciting because it was the first tornado I’ve ever seen in person, but I didn’t look at it for long at all.”
Bartholomew admits to being nervous – more so of the proposal than the tornado.
“It’s always nerve-wracking to ask someone to spend the rest of their life with you,” he said. “But when I was on one knee, I no longer cared about the tornado or anything else. My focus was on Britney. I felt as if time had stopped around us and like we were floating away.”
The reason Bartholomew chose to propose this way was that he wanted to combine his two biggest loves: Britney and storm chasing.
“[It was] to give us a moment that we can cherish and never forget,” he said.
And never did the couple think their moment would go viral like it did.
“It makes me happy that other people are finding joy in the photos of us because I know when I look at them, I can’t help but smile,” Cayton said.
“I figured it would spread around the chasing community and that’s about it,” Bartholomew said. “In a world dominated by negative headlines and new things to fear, I think people are seeing that it’s possible to find peace in the chaos. That and, well, it just looks cool.”
The couple plans to wed on the Texas coast in September 2019.