ROCHESTER, Minn. — Molly Giehtbrock had her suspicions throughout the day.
Her normally easygoing boyfriend, Michael Jackson, 34, seemed to be on a schedule Saturday, May 1, with her. Giehtbrock, 29, went garage sale shopping with her sister in Chatfield (Jackson’s idea), and he continued checking in on her to see when she would be home.
“He was being very particular about what time I should be home by, which is not something he would typically do,” Giehtbrock said. “I was like, ‘What is wrong, man? What are you doing? I’ll be home when I get home.’”
Jackson did have a schedule, however, and it required them to be at Peace Plaza in downtown Rochester at 4 p.m. — once again, another sign for Giehtbrock that something was up.
“I normally go with the idea that you should be on time for things like weddings and funerals, but other than that, life is up in the air,” he said.
When they arrived and finally sat down at the plaza, Giehtbrock noticed you could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. Then one of her favorite songs, “You Say” by Lauren Daigle, began playing over the plaza speakers, and she knew Jackson was behind it.
“I remember saying, “What did you do?’ ” she said.
A few seconds later, a woman dressed in street clothes approached the table the two were at and began dancing. Thirty seconds later, a second dancer appeared. Soon a small flash mob of nine dancers surrounded their table as “You Say” reached the climactic moment of the song.
Jackson planned the flash mob a month in advance, getting together with choreographer and professional organizer Katie Cook to plan the event. Cook then put together a group of dancers, and they set the time, which was the hardest part, Jackson said. The event was coordinated by Heidi-Mae Wilkins, who handled the planning and logistics, and it was videoed by videographer Tyler Aug.
While the surprise was a month in advance, Jackson said he knew a month into dating Giehtbrock back in 2018 that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. They met online and went on their first date to Tap House in downtown Rochester for drinks.
“Drinks then became a four-hour conversation,” Giehtbrock said. “We closed it down that night.”
As they continued dating, Jackson’s desire to marry Giehtbrock grew, but life delayed his plans. Jackson was diagnosed with blood cancer in November 2018.
“I wanted to marry her, it’s just life got really crazy and I got diagnosed with cancer, and that was a long battle of appointments and sicknesses and not being able to work for a while and not be able to kind of have a normal life,” he said. “I was trying to look for the perfect time, but there wasn't a perfect time.”
That time came Saturday. Weeks of chemotherapy had Jackson wanting “to do something happy for us” and finally do what he had known he wanted for three years. He sat there nervous as the flash mob carried on their routine around them.
“I was like a 7 out of 10,” he said about his nerves.
By the song's dramatic conclusion, Jackson shook what nerves he had, got down on one knee, and faced his girlfriend. He kept his next words “short and sweet.”
“Will you marry me?” he said.
“Yes,” said his fiancée, in tears.
After everything they'd been through together, to finally put on the ring, in that spectacle, meant everything for the newly engaged couple.
“We had a lot of hurdles and things that have kept us from (getting married) with his diagnosis and all that comes with a cancer diagnosis, all the different types of hardships,” Giehtbrock said. “It’s just kind of elevated it, because I know how hard the last few weeks have been for him, and pulling this off on top of not feeling good, it’s pretty special.”