David Swandt had a whole plan for how he was going to ask Kelsie Townsend to marry him. The Round Rock couple was supposed to go on vacation to Zion National Park in Utah, and he was going to ask her in that beautiful setting.


Then, after a stay-at-home order meant to stem the coronavirus pandemic went into effect, they had to cancel.


“Man, when am I going to do this?” Swandt thought.


Swandt, a business analyst for a software company, figured he didn’t want to wait for the next vacation. Instead, he decided he would propose to Townsend on a beautiful spring day along a favorite part of the Brushy Creek Trail.


It rained several days in a row, but on March 31, the sun was shining. He asked Townsend’s friend, Taylor, to take Townsend running on the trail, where Swandt would be waiting.


Townsend, who is an occupational therapist with the Round Rock Independent School District, didn’t feel like it. She was having a hard week getting ready to do her job virtually.


“I’ve never declined her before,” Townsend says. “It was unusual that I said no that day.”


But her friend, thinking quickly, told Townsend that she really needed to talk to her, that she was having a rough time.


Townsend agreed. They were walking along the path and got to the water, where Swandt was waiting. Townsend didn’t see him initially; she thought the pair were going to sit on a bench and have a serious conversation about Taylor’s problems.


“Taylor directed me to look at the water, to look at some turtles, and I saw him,” Townsend says.


“She lit up,” Swandt says. The couple talked briefly before he made the move to propose.


He spoke from the heart, but neither one quite remembers what he said exactly.


“You actually black out once you get into that mindset,” Swandt says.


“I blacked out, too,” Townsend says. “All I remember is him saying, ‘Will you marry me?’”


And she said yes.


Then they each went back to their own homes. Townsend told her parents, who were in on it from the beginning. In fact, they started planning an engagement party for that Saturday.


For 90 minutes on April 4, friends and family members drove by Townsend’s house while she and Swandt stood outside. The visitors held up signs. They rolled down their windows and cheered. One car even had Christmas lights around it.


“It was cool to see everyone,” Townsend says, “but it was hard not to give them huge hugs.”


The celebration, she says, “was just enough, given the times. It makes the little things better.”


“It makes it a little more memorable,” Swandt says. “You’ll remember forever that you had a drive-by engagement party. This one is a little bit unique.”


They plan on getting married next spring.