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He Was Giving the COVID Shot When He Saw the Ring

Paramedic Robby Vargas-Cortes proposes to nurse inoculating him: his boyfriend, Eric Vander Lee
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2021 12:11 PM CST

(Newser) – Good news: Your fiance snagged an appointment to get the coronavirus vaccine. Better news: You're the nurse who has the honor of administering it to him. Best news of all: He proposes to you right before you stick the needle in his arm. That's the sweet story out of Sanford Canton-Inwood Medical Center in Canton, S.D., where on Dec. 23, paramedic Robby Vargas-Cortes showed up to receive his COVID shot, knowing his boyfriend of five years, registered nurse Eric Vander Lee, would be one of the people handling inoculations, per CNN. But Vargas-Cortes had plans for more than vaccination on his mind and up his sleeve—which is where he hid an engagement ring. "It kind of popped in my head that maybe I would just tape [the ring] to my arm," he tells KELO. "That way, when [Vander Lee] rolled up the sleeve, then he would see it right there."

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A video uploaded to social media shows the encounter, with Vargas-Cortes helping Vander Lee roll up the sleeve on his left arm so his boyfriend could administer the shot. "It's been kind of a crazy year and ... it's been a fun ride to have you in my life," Vargas-Cortes says to Vander Lee when he spots the ring. Vargas-Cortes then launches into his official proposal, as Vander Lee's co-workers applaud and squeal in delight, Vargas-Cortes puts the ring on Vander Lee's finger, and they embrace. The two men had talked in the past about getting engaged, and when Vargas-Cortes found out Vander Lee would be helping administer the vaccines, he thought, "What better opportunity?" per the New York Times. Sanford Health offered best wishes to its two employees on Facebook. "Congratulations, Eric and Robby!" the hospital's post reads. No date has been set. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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