Esther Havens and Austin Mann are both freelance photographers who travel the globe, and, from Iceland to Cambodia, often just miss each other between trips.
But a few years ago, while Mann was back in Amsterdam, and remembered that Havens would be passing through the airport just a few days later on a layover to Tanzania.
He and got the idea to leave something in Amsterdam for Havens to find.
So he hid a note in the airport Starbucks before texting her a a riddle of a clue as to where it would be.
Havens found it, and thought how “romantic and fun.”
Over the years, Mann continued to hide letters in airports, leaving Havens with hints as to where to find them. She hasn’t yet found them all, but one recent letter that she nearly missed turned out to be an incredibly important one.
Havens received a text from Mann about a note hidden in Amsterdam, which she thought of as their first letter date—but when she landed, she was at a completely different terminal.
“I almost gave up and left,” Havens said.
Luckily she didn’t—she found a way to transfer, and made her way to the Starbucks, where she saw something sticking up behind a chair.
“My heart started pounding because this had to be a new note not something he left on a past trip,” Havens wrote on Instagram.
“It told me all the things he loved about me and then said If everything had gone as planned there would be a drink waiting for me at the bar.”
So she got up to head to the bar, but when she turned around the corner—there was Austin.
He had in hand a bouquet of tulips and “the most beautiful diamond ring.”
Havens couldn’t stop saying “What are you doing here?” but he just dropped to one knee, told her he loved her, and proposed right then and there.
“I said ‘YES’ and everyone watching in the terminal cheered!” Havens wrote. “I was in complete shock and couldn’t be more thankful.”
They took a moment for themselves, and when she walked out of the airport her whole family was there, holding flowers for her, singing, and cheering.
“I was completely surprised and blown away,” Havens wrote. “I could not have dreamt up a more perfect proposal to the man I love so dearly. I have never felt more joy!”