Twitter helps gorilla-suit St. Paul marriage proposal go national

Thanks to combined power of Twitter and the Associated Press, a local man's bizarre marriage proposal is now national news.

St. Paul resident Jake Nyberg, 31, wanted to surprise his then-girlfriend Tess Haun when he popped the question. He came up with an off-the-wall plan involving a staged engagement photo shoot, gorilla suits, and ice skates.

With almost 3,000 followers, Nyberg is a local Twitter celebrity and knows how to navigate the internet. He used his savvy to create a fake online persona, then used the persona to contact Haun, a freelance photographer, about paying her to take photos while "Kevin" delivered an on-ice marriage proposal to a fictitious girlfriend on the rink in front of downtown St. Paul's Landmark Center.

As Haun understood it, the plan was for Kevin, dressed up in a gorilla suit obscuring his identity, to take off his mask and propose to his girlfriend while she took pictures.

Nyberg said that Haun "bought it, so much so that she was talking to me about it during the 48 hours before the fake photo shoot." She even offhandedly asked him when he might get around to proposing to her.

"I thought to myself, 'this is great, as long as she doesn't break up with me in the next day or two,'" Nyberg said.

Fortunately for Nyberg, Haun decided to stick it out for a couple more days, and during the Dec. 16 photo shoot, Nyberg himself skated onto the ice, surprised Haun when he took off his gorilla mask and revealed himself, then proposed. She said yes.

A day or two later, Nyberg came across a 'reporters need help' Twitter feed. An Associated Press reporter working on a story about the large number of December marriage proposals wanted to hear from folks who had popped the question during the holiday season. Nyberg shared his story via e-mail, but the reporter found it interesting enough to warrant a phone interview.

Days later, Nyberg's tale began popping up on major national media websites.

"I certainly didn't anticipate this, but [the reporter] put a nice little twist on it," Nyberg said.

Unorthodox proposal aside, Nyberg's story illustrates the power of social media -- and perhaps, the effectiveness of gorilla-suit proposals. Take notes, fellas. After all, New Years and Valentine's Day are just around the corner.

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