They say history repeats itself, but one woman in San Diego never expected that to ring so true.
Valerie Zakar’s husband, Robert Zakar, proposed to her 11 years ago using a massive, 48-foot-tall billboard that stated, “Valerie Kassab, will you marry me?” And on May 7, he used the same billboard, unbeknownst to her, to mark their 10-year anniversary.
“Back then, it was hard keeping a secret,” Zakar told GoodMorningAmerica.com. “I was really excited. I couldn’t tell anybody – because, if I did, it would probably leak out. But it was a lot of fun. Ten years later, and two kids later, I wanted to relive that.”
He had kept the original proposal billboard the entire time folded up and saved in the garage, so as the anniversary was approaching, Zakar decided to add a banner to the bottom left corner reading, “Happy 10th anniversary!”
Fortunately for Zakar, the billboard space just happened to be available from April 29 to May 26, which was perfect timing for their May 25 anniversary date.
“Lamar Advertising has that space booked for the next 10 months,” Zakar said. “McDonalds was up there, but it was coming down April 29, and the next one was going up on May 26. I wanted it to be in the same spot I proposed. They said they actually had an opening, so it went up on May 7.”
Once again, it was a total surprise to Valerie Zakar. She was on a field trip with her son when her phone started buzzing with Facebook and Instagram notifications.
“This time, she was definitely blindsided,” said Zakar. “She was on my son’s field trip and she started seeing it on Instagram and Facebook, and people were texting her and she got flustered. She didn’t know what to do to. She was like, ‘Oh my god. What did you do? What’s going on?’”
Zakar said his wife is much more modest than he is, and that’s what makes the surprise so fun. When he originally proposed using the billboard, it got so much attention the company decided to leave it up for three months more than originally planned.
“At first, she was really embarrassed. But as the days progressed she got used do it,” Zakar said. “The younger crowd would come up to us really excited and want to talk to us.”
“She actually started crying when she saw it,” said Zakar.