Proposal of a Lifetime: How Sthuthi David was animated into saying ‘Yes’

As Sthuthi David was engrossed watching “The Sleeping Beauty,” her favorite Disney movie with her boyfriend Lee Loechler at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, Massachusetts, she realized that the movie began to look different. The looks of the lead characters had changed; the princess suddenly looked darker and the prince looked like Loechler.

Soon she realized that it was her boyfriend’s master plan, as she saw him go down on his knees, asking her to marry him. “I love you with my whole heart. Including all of its ventricals, atriums, valves... she’s a cardiologist,” Loechler said as she laughed and held back tears. “Sthuthi David, MD, will you live happily ever after with me?”

As she said yes, the movie resumed and finished with the song “Once Upon A Dream.”

The entire proposal was caught on camera and was posted on YouTube where it’s gotten more than a million views. Sharing the experience on Instagram, Loechler, a Boston-based filmmaker, wrote: “The only thing better than seeing the smartest person I know completely dumbfounded was knowing we’d get to live happily ever after together.”

On the YouTube post, Loechler said he had been working with illustrator Kayla Coombs on the surprise for the past six months. He said he worked with an illustrator to animate his girlfriend and himself into her favorite movie “Sleeping Beauty.” He continued: “On 12/30/19 I popped the question in a theater filled with our friends and family.”

The scene from the film depicts Loechler as the prince as he leans in for the true love kiss that awakens the sleeping princess, who was animated to look like Sthuthi. The soon-to-be groom had a camera facing them in the audience to record the moment and captured her reaction as his animated self opened a jewelry box with an engagement ring.

The animated Leochler then “tossed” the box to his real-life self. Loechler then caught the box via some real-life magic and turned to ask the big question in person. But first, he revealed that the audience was filled with her family and loved ones anxiously awaiting the moment. However, Loechler didn’t come in without a backup plan. After the end credits to the film rolled, the reel skipped to a clip called “Alt 2: Stuthi says no,” featuring Grumpy the dwarf from “Snow White” shedding tears as “Mad World” plays in the background. 

Loechler and David were high school sweethearts, but split up during college, only to rekindle their romance 10 years later, Loechler wrote on Reddit, “My girlfriend and I were high school sweethearts. We split up when we moved away for college, but, through freak happenstance, reconnected ten years later and got back together.” They both graduated from Brookline High School.

After high school, Loechler attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, graduating in 2012 with a degree in fine arts, film and television. David attended the University of Rochester, graduating in 2013 with a degree in biochemistry. She then attended the University of Rochester Medical School, completing her studies there in 2017. She currently works as a cardiologist at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

According to Loechler’s website, he is the director of content for Friends at Work, a “management, entertainment and social impact company,” that, “partners with the world’s greatest artists and thinkers to help their visions thrive and realize both their creative and social passions.

Loechler told the Boston Globe, “It’s important to know your partner. And to know what they like and what they dislike,” adding that they had discussions about their future together. He said of the reaction to the video from people around the world, “It’s been very surreal and very crazy. That’s the craziest part to me, everything went according to plan.”

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