Back in the picturesque town of New London, N.H., for a class reunion, Colby-Sawyer College graduates Matt Van Vliet and girlfriend Samantha Labo had a run-in with the law that quickly morphed into an “arresting” marriage proposal.
With an important assist from Acting Police Chief Edward Anderson, Van Vliet hatched a very clever — and somewhat cruel — plan to propose to his girlfriend of four years. In a very strange way, the proposal is forever linked to the moment the two first set eyes on each other.
You see, Labo and Van Vliet had met in the New London jail back in 2010 after they were arrested with 100 other students for underage drinking at freshman party. The arresting officer was none other than Chief Anderson. (The couple was eventually cleared of charges after passing Breathalyzer tests.)
“[Van Vliet] said he would really enjoy it if I could be a part of it because he felt that I was part of the reason they got together,” Anderson told CBS. “Because of the whole story behind it is why I felt it would be good to be involved with that.”
Anderson reported to work on his day off to take part in the charade. He gladly took on the role of a tough-talking, hard-nosed officer who would not only pull the couple over as they drove to a reunion party, but also sternly reprimand Labo when she asked the officer what her boyfriend did wrong.
With the police cruiser’s dashboard cam recording every moment, Anderson announced that there was a warrant out for Van Vliet’s arrest and he ordered the couple to step out of the car.
Labo could be heard sobbing as she watched Anderson handcuff Van Vliet and pat him down. At that point, Anderson is seen finding a ring box in Van Vliet’s pocket and questioning what it is. As this point, fantasy turns to reality.
The boyfriend, now officially out of custody and with a diamond engagement ring in hand, can be seen on the dash cam walking over to his distressed girlfriend, getting down on one knee and delivering his proposal.
Sobs of fear turned instantly into sobs of joy. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a pack of friends merged onto the scene to celebrate the happy moment.
“I had no idea what was going on,” Labo told WBZ-TV. “I went from being absolutely terrified to being the most happiest I’ve ever been.”
The proposal actually occurred on September 20, 2013, but Labo first got a copy of the dashboard cam video on January 18. As soon as she posted it on YouTube, it became an instant sensation. Within a few days, both local and national news outlets were seeking interviews with the couple.
“We kind of met in jail sort of, so I thought it would be cool to include the cops again,” Van Vliet told WBZ-TV. “My mom said surprises were the best way to do it, so I guess I went kind of overboard, but it worked out pretty well.” The couple has set a wedding date of August 22, 2015.
Check out WMUR-TV’s coverage of the story, which includes highlights from the police cruiser’s dashboard video…