Back in May, a couple went on their first date. Ashley and Wesley. They ate pizza, went ice skating, and before calling it a night-- they went for a walk on our local Riverwalk. A place and thing I have done hundreds of times, with both friends and boyfriends. I have walked on Riverwalk in high school, college, and even past college. It is a beautiful brick walk down the ancient Savannah River.
It sounds like an ideal first date. In their mind, their hearts- they probably silently wondered about this person they were sharing an evening with, laughing with, and maybe even holding hands with. Perhaps they fantasized how this relationship would play out. Would they grow old together? Would they fight bitterly and break up on a hot night a few months from now?
Would they be beaten with metal pipes on this perfect May evening by two strangers?
Would he be put in a coma as he laid in critical condition only after picking up his date in two arms, with a broken hand, and drive her to the emergency room begging the doctors to care for her first?
Would she stay by his side with no knowledge that they would be like this for several days- and he-- for weeks?
Did these questions cross their minds?
Maybe the first few, but definitely not the last few.
They got better. They went on a better second date and apparently had many more dates since that May evening. Recently, he asked.
She said yes.
Ashley and Wesley have found their fairy tale and this fair city is embracing this love story and doing everything they can for them. Not because they need the donation. Not because they asked. But because this town has come together and decided that they had a deplorable first date and deserve a better wedding.
They deserved better memories.
They deserve better.
This wedding is coming together and it will not cost them a penny. Out of the woodwork, from strangers and friends- the story has been caught in the wind and picked up. A local jeweler, Joel, is donating the wedding bands. As someone who is married, and who purchased her husband's wedding band from Joel, that is a hefty donation. A local radio talk show host, Austin Rhodes, is organizing donations for a honeymoon. As someone who went on a honeymoon- one that was a gift- I know what it means to have that burden lifted off a man's shoulders. Sure, the Motel Six on Gordon Hwy is lovely this time of year- but, they deserve better.
Venues, printers, caterers, photographers, DJs, videographers, preachers-- they have stepped up and offered their services at no charge to this worthy couple. Strangers are giving donations to make this happen.
Perhaps these donators, these believers in good deeds, these lovers of love stories believe in our city and know that our city failed them back in May. Those that wielded the pipes were caught, but the act was still committed in an area deemed "safe" and a place where our community sees as a beacon- a shining star.
People amaze me. They amaze and humble me. Constantly, I am impressed by people.