On June 22, the lives of Jaime Rodriguez, age 78, and Luz Rivera, age 69, changed forever when Rodriguez popped the question at the ‘senior’ prom hosted by Hillsborough County at The Regent in Riverview.
At first glance, the prom looked like any other party, complete with loud music, elaborate costumes, and dancing couples. The prom court strutted their way out to center stage, and the king and queen were crowned. It was after this that a surprise event took place.
Rivera was asked to come to center stage, much to her surprise. Rodriguez followed her out, telling the emcee, “If I get down on a knee, you’ll have to help me up.”
“When I first saw this lady, I thought, This is it!” Rodriguez announced to the crowd before asking Rivera to marry him. She gave an ecstatic “Yes!” and he slipped an engagement ring on her finger.
The couple then danced to Love Me Tender, and was congratulated by groups of supportive friends.
Rodriguez and Rivera met six months ago at the Town N’ Country Senior Center. They started dating two months ago with a dinner trip to Bahama Breeze. Rivera’s daughter Variluz Soto, who was there for the proposal, said “They party every day.”
Rivera was married to Soto’s father for 38 years before they divorced. After the divorce, she did not think she could ever see herself with anyone else until she met Rodriguez.
When asked if he had been married before, Rodriguez quietly answered that he had been married four times, before playfully putting a finger to his lips.
Rodriguez and Rivera have not yet made any wedding plans, but are already scheming for their honeymoon. They plan to either take a cruise, or visit Puerto Rico, where they are both originally from. “Our life is going to change,” said Rivera.
The heartwarming proposal was done in public so the couple could share their joy with their many friends and declare their love for one another. “It shows you can find love at any age,” said Frances Duran Brea, the general manager for the Town N’ Country center.
Rodriguez and Rivera will be spending the rest of their days side-by-side at the Town N’ Country center, where more adventures are sure to come.