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South Florida Flash Mob Marriage Proposal Becomes YouTube Sensation

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A South Florida man proposed to his girlfriend at the IKEA in Sunrise. (Source: CBS4)

A South Florida man proposed to his girlfriend at the IKEA in Sunrise. (Source: CBS4)

maggieheadshot Maggie Newland
Maggie Newland is a reporter at CBS4. She arrived at the station ...
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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Carlos Gato, a 30-year-old paramedic at Homestead Hospital, wanted to propose to his girlfriend Rebecca Shackelford at the Ikea in Sunrise where the two met and had their first date.

“I didn’t want to do it small. I wanted to do it big for her,” said Gato. He asked Ikea if he could organize a flash mob.

Ikea helped Gato put the June 15th flash mob together with the help of a local dance studio.

Shackelford said she had no idea about the proposal. She thought she and some friends were having a girls’ day out. The group stopped by Ikea and she was asked to take a survey and wait for a prize. Ikea employees, who were all in on the big secret, told Shackelford there was a production being filmed at the store so she wouldn’t get suspicious when the dancing started.

A few Ikea employees and some of the couple’s friends also joined the flash mob.

“They took one night, learned routine and pop up twice in the flash mob, but I actually had friends and family all in the background hiding so I probably had like 20 or 30 people there watching,” explained Gato.

Shackelford sat back and watched the product of six months of planning. Dancers performed to Bruno Mars’ “Marry You.”

She said she wasn’t suspicious until she noticed her friends who joined the dancers at the end of the flash mob.  “Right in the end when they got in the little heart that’s when I was like ‘ok something’s up’.”

By the time Gato walked down the escalator, flowers in hand, the tears were flowing.

“I just had massive adrenaline. I was crying, overwhelming excitement I was just overwhelmed,” recalled Shackelford.

Of course, she said yes.

The couple plans to marry in about a year.

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