Israel Burns proposed Wednesday evening to his girlfriend of one year, Misha Wright, with a surprise assist from Cory Booker. Burns asked the Newark mayor on Twitter to "lend a hand with a marriage proposal idea," and less than 24 hours later, Booker helped pop the question.
Known for engaging directly with constituents and admirers over the social media platform — he rescued a dog left out in the cold last month after a local television reporter tweeted at him for help — Booker saw Burns' tweet late Tuesday night and responded in the affirmative: "I am a romantic," he said. "Please DM me. Sounds fun."
Burns, 26, lives and works in New York City at the law firm, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, but says he became a fan of the mayor when he went to law school in Newark from 2009 to 2011.
"I was trying to think of the most creative way to do the proposal," Burns told BuzzFeed. "Misha is also a huge supporter and fan of Cory Booker's, and so I wanted to incorporate him somehow."
"Ten minutes after I posted it on Twitter, he responded. I was like, 'Wait is he serious about this? Is it actually possible?'" Burns said.
Burns was planning on taking Wright, 35, and also a lawyer, to the Asian American Bar Association of New York's annual dinner at Cipriani Wall — where the couple met this time last year — and he wanted the proposal to take place at the event.
He asked Booker over Twitter if he'd be in New York Wednesday night. No, said Booker, but he still wanted to help.
After connecting by phone — "his vibe was excited to help out," Burns said of the call — he and the mayor came up with a game plan. Booker wouldn't appear in person at the event, but would make a cameo, by phone.
"At the event, I'm going to tell her I'm going to the bathroom and have her hold my cell phone," said Burns. "At 6:50 p.m., Cory is gonna call and tell her that he found me at the event and that she should come upstairs to the second floor, at the VIP section."
Speaking to BuzzFeed before the proposal, Burns said, "She is gonna freak out, and sprint upstairs," he said. "We personally admire the work that he's done in Newark in terms of revitalizing the political youth, so we are big fans."
But instead of Booker waiting upstairs, it would be Burns, with two glasses of champagne, a ring, and a poem he wrote for the occasion, he said.
Wright, it turned out, said yes.
Booker told BuzzFeed after the proposal that "it seemed to go really well," he said. "She was excited and almost dubious at the beginning that I was there."
Asked why he decided to respond to Burns, Booker said, "You know, I'm a romantic guy and I love to help with surprises. It's the first time I've conspired with somebody on a marriage proposal," he said.
"Taking a few minutes out of my hectic day to be a small part of that was a gift to me," said the mayor.
The couple is headed to the Dominican Republic early Thursday morning for a vacation together.
Ruby Cramer is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ruby Cramer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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