A man proposed to his boyfriend of five
years during a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Canton, South Dakota.
According to CNN, the surprise proposal
took place at Sanford Canton-Inwood Medical Center, where Eric
Vanderlee, a registered nurse, was administering vaccines.
Robbie Vargas-Cortes, a paramedic and
EMS supervisor, arrived on December 23rd to get his
vaccination. When he rolled up his sleeve to get his shot, Vanderlee
could see that he had taped an engagement ring to his upper arm.
“I wanted for it to be a surprise,”
Vargas-Cortes told CNN, adding that he had the ring for three years.
The proposal was short because
Vargas-Cortes had to respond to an ambulance call.
“We're nearing the end of the
pandemic,” he said. “The vaccine is kind of like a new chapter.”
During an appearance on CNN, Vanderlee
said that he lost his 86-year-old grandfather to COVID in November.
“Even though we had seen COVID as
employees, to finally have a family member die was shocking,”
Vanderlee said that he had volunteered
to administer the vaccine because he wanted to be a “part of the
“I feel like I can't pass this up.
It's like a once in a lifetime opportunity to be the one giving the
vaccine if I have a chance,” he
The couple said that they will wait
until after the pandemic to get married.
Vargas-Cortes said that they had
received an “outpouring of support” from the community.
“It gives me a new confidence to be
okay with who we are,” he said. “I always say I'm too scared to
hold his hand in public, and now that this has happened, that seems
kind of silly.”