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For One Couple, 2nd Pandemic Birthday Comes With A Surprise Engagement

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

In a year full of loss and isolation, there haven't been many opportunities for celebration. But across the country, people are finding creative ways to make their second pandemic birthdays memorable. We've asked people to share their stories with us, and we want to take a moment now to share one of them. It's from Matt Schram in San Francisco.

MATT SCHRAM: Thirty-five was probably the longest miserable slog of a year of my life, and I wanted to end it on a little bit of a high note.

FADEL: To celebrate his second pandemic birthday, Schram decided to propose to his girlfriend Erica Simmons on the top of Dante's View in Death Valley.

ERICA SIMMONS: I did not see it coming. We went for a short hike up there. And then just as I was, like, all right, let's head back to the car, you know, Matt sort of pulled me aside and asked me to marry him.

FADEL: It was a total surprise to Erica, and she happily accepted.

SCHRAM: I think part of the thing that the pandemic has taught is just the - taught me, at least, is the value of having people that you can trust and rely on, being able to, like, have that security when times are bad, when - you know, when health fails.

SIMMONS: You know, I've obviously really valued having, you know, Matt in my life. And to have his support and love - also just realizing that we can get through tough times together and that we can kind of support each other and make each other's lives better, even when times are tough, and that that's not to be taken lightly or to be taken for granted.

FADEL: Congratulations, Matt Schram and Erica Simmons. And thanks for sharing your story with us.

(SOUNDBITE OF RACHEL FULLER'S "LAMENT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.