Local man gets the hint, pops the question after elaborate ruse

Adam Tabaja and Shea Lindsey. (Photo by Jon Black)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) A Waco man lured to what ostensibly was a surprise birthday party Thursday night with an invitation to what he thought was a local networking opportunity at a downtown bar ended up saying “I do” after his longtime girlfriend arranged an elaborate ruse that left him with no option, but to pop the question.

Adam Tabaja, operations manager at KWTX, and Shea Lindsey, the station’s local sales manager, got hitched right there Thursday night in a ceremony that was not quite impromptu, but for his part at least, totally unexpected.

Lindsey spent months planning the surprise, inviting friends and family members from around the country.

“Six months,” Lindsey said, “It took six months to plan this, but I didn’t worry about getting found out because Adam is kind of dumb.”

Not really. Tabaja’s a sharp guy, quick, funny, and apparently gullible to the “Nth” degree.

Lindsay brought Tabaja’s brothers into the scheme, a group of employees at KWTX, old college buddies and even a preacher; she was prepared.

And Tabaja admits he was clueless, although there were plenty of hints of what was to come, starting with the large number of friends who filled the Backyard Saloon On Austin.

“I was so stupid,” Tabaja said.

“Usually people can’t put things like this over on me, but this one was absolutely unexpected.”

The two work just a few steps apart in the KWTX building and they started dating eight years ago, but Tabaja didn’t have a clue what she was up to.

Lindsey brought Tabaja’s brothers into the scheme, a group of employees at KWTX, old college buddies and even a preacher; she was prepared.

“I walked in the door and immediately I saw everybody in the room worked at KWTX, then people started showing up and everybody who walked by me was somebody I knew,” Tabaja said.

The pretense for the gathering was a surprise birthday party for Tabaja, who turns 30 in a few days.

“I told him we needed to go out and celebrate before he aged out of his 20s,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey had produced some videos for the gathering in which she appeared, some with excerpts going back to Tabaja’s childhood, and at one point he said a friend urged him to area at the rear of the bar, where he sat down on a sofa and looked up to see huge television screens, each one with a bit more video about him.

Tabaja thought Lindsey was in Teague for an annual homecoming celebration that she’d supposedly been planning to attend for months, and in fact says he’d been trying to call her.

So he was more than surprised when she entered the barroom with his mother and stepfather and a friend from Colorado.

At that moment, Tabaja got the hint.

He asked her to marry him, and she, of course, said yes, to the relief of the guests, who weren’t exactly sure what would happen if he didn’t.

The two were engaged for about 10 minutes, he says, because one of his friends was ordained and prepared for a wedding.

And if he hadn’t popped the question?

“One of us was going to propose,” Lindsey said, admitting she’d prepared the question just in case Tabaja didn’t get the hard hint.

But he did, and the preacher, conveniently, already was there, so an “I do,” or two, and it was done.

Neither one of them showed up for work Friday, by the way.