By Lisa M. Esquivel Long, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, December 15, 2016 9:13 PM
Sean Sikes gave his girlfriend, Mikki Bergman, an extra-special gift Thursday evening at Jefferson Pointe – an engagement ring and a story to last a lifetime.
He must not have been on Santa's naughty list because she said yes.
And Santa had a helper there to make it happen.
Sikes, 36, let the mall know in advance what he was up to and that the couple – who are deaf – would be bringing their teenage children – he has three and she has two – to see the Santa's Helper. And here's how things went as he planned: Santa's Helper Kyle Conant asked one of the daughters what she wanted for Christmas. After a little whispering, the family had Bergman sit with Conant. That's when Sikes got down on bended knee and daughter Cali signed the marriage proposal to Bergman. Tears and hugs followed, including for Conant. Conant said it's his third involvement in a marriage proposal in 15 years of helping Santa.
Sikes didn't mind that everyone would be there – as well as media.
"I want the world to know that I love her more than all the loves out there," he said in a text interview ahead of time.
Sikes met Bergman, 43, at the monthly deaf volleyball and gathering in 2014, he wrote.
"We even (had) mutual friends for decades before" meeting, Sikes wrote.
The two, who both were born and grew in Fort Wayne, will likely get married within the next couple of years.
This season of giving seemed like the perfect time to get engaged.
"I thought about having the Santa and the shopping center involved because this is her favorite time of the year and holiday and she loves to shop," he wrote. "Red nose Rudolph is her favorite part."