‘I can’t be­lieve this is hap­pen­ing’

P.E.I. woman caught off guard by boyfriend’s mar­riage pro­posal dur­ing Hal­i­fax Busker Fes­ti­val per­for­mance

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN BRUN

When it comes to sur­prises, Kerissa Richards is not an easy or will­ing tar­get.

The 25-year-old St. Louis, P.E.I., na­tive says she doesn’t like them. She’s also no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to fool.

“I’ll try to put things to­gether and fig­ure it out if I think some­thing’s go­ing on.”

What hap­pened to Richards on Mon­day, how­ever, may change her tune about sur­prises.

Richards and her boyfriend, Shane Bourque — who are ex­pect­ing their first child, a boy due this week — were on their way to a per­for­mance at the Hal­i­fax Busker Fes­ti­val.

The pre­vi­ous Satur­day had been Richards’ birth­day, but Bourque had to work. So he sug­gested they go out and do some­thing fun Mon­day to cel­e­brate.

After park­ing at the Hal­i­fax wa­ter­front, Bourque had to re­turn to the car, telling his girl­friend that he for­got his wal­let.

Mo­ments later, as the pair took in a per­for­mance by Ar­gen­tinian “Foot­ball Freestyler” Vic­tor Ru­bi­lar, the busker ap­proached Richards and asked her to come to the mid­dle of the crowd of onlookers, pre­sum­ably as part of the per­for­mance.

None of this raised Richards’ sus­pi­cions. What she didn’t know was that Bourque had sent a mes­sage to Ru­bi­lar one week be­fore, so the busker knew in ad­vance that Bourque was bring­ing Richards to the show. They had also planned that Ru­bi­lar would some­how sin­gle Richards out from the au­di­ence.

And Bourque didn’t go back to the car to get his wal­let — he was ac­tu­ally go­ing to get an en­gage­ment ring.

The scene that fol­lowed was cap­tured on a video taken by staff at the Hal­i­fax Busker Fes­ti­val.

The busker asks Richards if she’s sin­gle or if her hus­band is with her at the show.

Richards replies that she’s not mar­ried, but her boyfriend is in the au­di­ence.

“Your boyfriend?” the busker is heard ask­ing in the video, look­ing to­wards Bourque. “Sir, what are you go­ing to do about that?”

At this point, Bourque races up in front of the crowd, pulling the ring from his pocket. He gets on bended knee in front of Richards and asks her to marry him.

While it’s not au­di­ble in the video, it’s clear from the crowd’s re­ac­tion that she says yes.

It hap­pened to be the one sur­prise Richards never saw com­ing, and it’s one she’ll never for­get.

“When I saw Shane come run­ning up, I just thought, ‘I can’t be­lieve this is hap­pen­ing,’” she said. “It didn’t feel real. I just cried.”

The video posted on the fes­ti­val’s Face­book page has since cir­cu­lated widely. As of Tues­day evening, it’s been shared more than 650 times and viewed al­most 70,000 times from that page alone.

Richards has been liv­ing with Bourque in Hal­i­fax, where she works as an es­theti­cian, for the past three years after the two met through the online dat­ing app Tin­der.

The youngest of four chil­dren, Richards did man­age to call her fam­ily back in P.E.I. to let them know the good news be­fore the video was posted and sub­se­quently went vi­ral.

While the cou­ple has no im­me­di­ate plans for the wed­ding, Richards said the main fo­cus for the cou­ple now is the birth of their child, who they’ve al­ready named Mar­shall Ray, after Richards’ grandfather Ray­mond.

As for those sur­prises — de­spite this one likely be­ing more public than ei­ther she or Bourque ever dreamed — Richards didn’t mind it one bit.

“It’s crazy for so many peo­ple to see our love,” she said.

“We’re just very ex­cited.”

Hal­i­fax res­i­dent Shane Bourque gave his girl­friend, P.E.I. na­tive Kerissa Richards, the sur­prise of her life when he pro­posed to her dur­ing a public per­for­mance at the Hal­i­fax Busker Fes­ti­val on Mon­day. The cou­ple is also ex­pect­ing their first child, a boy named Mar­shall Ray, who’s due this week.

This screen­grab of a video shows St. Louis, P.E.I., na­tive Kerissa Richards, left, with her boyfriend, Shane Bourque, on bended knee as he pro­poses to her dur­ing a public per­for­mance by busker Vic­tor Ru­bi­lar, right, dur­ing the Hal­i­fax Busker Fes­ti­val on Mon­day. A video of the pro­posal has since gone vi­ral online.

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