Love was in the air at the Clicks store in Vangate Mall, Cape Town, on Thursday when customers and staff witnessed a marriage proposal in the aisles.
Stephen Claassen, 53, from Atlantis, proposed to his girlfriend Noleen Gysman, 52, inside the busy store and a video of his proposal has since gone viral with more than 150 000 views.
The couple have been dating since June but have a long history.
Gysman from Parow is the store manager at Clicks, where she’s been working for the past 30 years, while Claassen is a boiler maker at Atlantis Foundries.
The two dated 35 years ago when they lived in Oudtshoorn.
Our manager’s engagement… Team 164,Vangate Mall
Gysman says they were high school sweethearts who were torn apart when Claassen moved to Atlantis with his family.
“After two years of dating, he moved and I stayed behind and we never saw each other again,” she says.
“We both got married and had children, I am now divorced and Stephen’s wife died five years ago.”
The pair were reunited this year after a mutual friend put them in contact in February and they started chatting on WhatsApp.
“While under lockdown Level 2 in May, he pitched up at my work with his granddaughter and the rest is history,” says Gysman.
“June was the first visit to my home where he also met my kids and asked them for permission to be in a relationship with me.
“I didn’t even say yes yet at the time, but he had made up his mind that we’re not parting ways again,” she laughs.
On Thursday, Claassen, armed with a bunch of flowers and a ring, went down on bended knee.
Cashier Carlyn Matthews shared the video on her Facebook page and it went viral.
Claassen said on Sunday: “I’m shocked to see how people are responding to something I thought is a humble expression of my love. At first, I wanted to do it in private, just the two of us, but her sister suggested I do it at work where she spends most of her time. I didn’t think it would gain so much attention.”
The couple hope to get married next year.