When Colin Rayner dropped to one knee under the giant mistletoe at Market Square, he gave his girlfriend the best Christmas present she could ask for.
The sparkly engagement ring, holding the promise of a life together, slid onto Robyn Horner’s finger. Rayner wrapped his arms around her and gave her a kiss to celebrate.
“I’m excited and shaking,” said Horner, showing off the ring. “It doesn’t feel real, but I’m really excited.”
Rayner’s very public proposal at the entrance of Market Square Saturday afternoon was meant to surprise Horner. But it was also a way to get recognition for the United Way’s Merry Kissmas event. Members of the public were invited to share their Christmas love with a kiss under the mistletoe and a donation to the United Way. The photographs were then added to the United Way Facebook page.
“People have been kissing and posing for us,” said Heather Skydt, director of marketing and communications for the United Way. “This event is more about awareness.”
Horner, a 25-year-old massage therapist, said she had no idea she would see Rayner downtown. She and a friend were on their way to lunch, when the friend told her she needed to stop to buy something.
“And the next thing, we’re standing here, and then Colin was here, and there was a box,” Horner said. “As soon as I saw the box, I kind of thought something was up, but it just didn’t make any sense.”
Rayner, 28, who works in advertising at the Times Colonist, admitted he was feeling nervous.
“I proposed to my girlfriend of 3 1/2 years and now she’s my fiancée,” he said with a smile.
“He’s probably one of the most charming, caring human beings I’ve ever met. He just takes such good care of me and our dog,” Horner said. “It’s the best Christmas present I could ask for.”
The United Way campaign has raised about 80 per cent of its fundraising goal. “So every penny counts,” Skydt said.