It was an ongoing joke, one a pair of customers who stopped by Eastway Esso, giggled about nearly every day.
At least that’s what one of the owner’s, Shemin Patel, thought.
Stacey O’Donnell and Ross Cruikshank have been a couple since Stacey was 17. Every morning on their way to work for the last seven years they’d joke with Shemin that they were going to get married right there in Eastway Esso.
When?’ she would ask, and Stacey would laugh and say on leap day.
They’d share a laugh, talk about how one another’s day was going and that would be it.
Eventually Shemin began to think of the young couple nearly as dearly as her own children.
Then a few days ago Ross stopped by the store and told the owners it was time.
“He said we weren’t joking’,” Shemin said. “He said they wanted to get married here on Wednesday.”
“We wanted to be different,” Stacey said, passing out bouquets of flowers to her mom and daughter just before the ceremony. “We’ve been here every morning on the way to work for seven years.”
And that isn’t the only tie she has with the neighbourhood gas station. Her grandfather actually passed away there. He suffered a heart attack and his truck went through the front plate glass window (replaced with a wall following renovations), and he passed away in the store.
“Your grandpa’s watching,” Shelly, Stacey’s mom, said as they completed some finishing touches.
The ceremony was simple, performed by Justice of the Peace Laurie Shafer, who lives in the area and stops by the store on occasion to pick up a few what-nots or mail a letter.
The bride walked down an aisle between convenience food, coffee and toiletries.
The couple stood, surrounded by their two kids, friends and family, with a pretty cascade of colourful fabric, made by Shemin, as a background.
Vows and rings were exchanged as family and friends (and a few customers) watched, and then the couple sealed the moment with a kiss.
And the next time they stop by Eastway Esso on their way to work, it will be as husband and wife.
With an anniversary Ross will have to remember only every four years?
“Well, I don’t know if I’ll let him get away with that,” Stacey laughed.