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Longboat Key Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 8 years ago

Couple shares public proposal at Publix

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Lamarr Glenn always thought proposing over dinner or on a holiday was cliché. Glenn, athletic director at Wekiva High School, in Apopka, and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers fullback, told his girlfriend, Natasha Ford, Publix property representative who manages Avenue of the Flowers, to expect an unorthodox proposal.

“I always told her she’d better be ready,” he said.

The couple had known each other since their days at Pine Trail Elementary School, in Ormond Beach. Two years ago, they became a couple. Two months ago, Glenn told Ford’s secretary he was ready to pop the question. Her secretary said she would set it up in the perfect spot: Publix Super Market 218, also known as the Longboat Key Publix. The Avenue of the Flowers property was a new property for Ford, so she knew Ford wouldn’t cancel a last-minute meeting there. Plus, Ford loves Longboat Key.

But, Ford was irked when Longboat Key Publix Manager Andy Lappin called and told her that District Manager Wendy Smith was calling a meeting two days before Thanksgiving at the Longboat Key store.
“Why would Wendy call a meeting?” Ford asked. “The district managers should have the week off.”
Ford arrived at the Longboat Publix around 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24, and obliged when Lappin asked her to pose for a picture to give to Smith.

The night before, Lappin had decorated a bench with flowers from the Publix floral department. Ford sat down on the bench and smiled for the camera. She felt someone touch her arm. She didn’t see Glenn walk up behind her from the customer-service desk. She screamed when she saw him. He got down on one knee. He took a ring out of his pocket. She cried while Publix staff and shoppers gathered around them, applauding. As the two of them whispered, someone yelled:

“Did you remember to say yes?”

Ford said “yes.”

As Longboat Key Publix employees offered congratulations, Vicki Workman, aka “Miss Vicki,” joked to Glenn that she was going to step in for Ford had she said no.

The couple celebrated with a Publix vanilla cake with the word “Congratulations” written in brown icing across the top.

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].

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