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Tyler Shelton met Haylee Rose in middle school — and the two have dated almost as long as they’ve known each other.
So when the 21-year-old video blogger started thinking about how he wanted to propose, he also began considering scenarios where he would broach the subject with her dad, Greg Rose.
But on April 25, 2014, Greg suddenly passed away from complications of an enlarged heart.
A year later, Tyler ended up asking for Greg's blessing, in the best way he knew how — through a video.
“Dear Greg. I’m going to marry your daughter. I always thought of how I was going to ask for your blessing one day and now that day is here,” he says in the video. “I wish you were here to hand your baby girl off to me so I promise to be more than you would ever want me to be.”
The video documents not only Tyler's love for Haylee, but her family, whose members have treated him like one of their own “since day one," he told TODAY.com — especially Greg.
"He was seriously like my second dad," Tyler said. But the entire family welcomed him from the beginning. He pointed out that they've never known him without the dreadlocks he continues to wear today.
While others may eye him suspiciously because of his hairstyle, Haylee's family has never questioned his character.
"Ever since day one, they've never treated me like I was some weird guy who’s dating their daughter," he said. "They took me on family vacations and took care of me."
So when the time finally came for Tyler to propose, he reached out to Haylee's mother for a heart-to-heart talk. That's when the idea struck him to make a video capturing everyone else's reaction to his intentions for Haylee — and dedicated the project to her father.
"Greg was friends with everyone,” Tyler said. "He was the announcer at our high school football games. He was Mr. Social. Everybody loved him."
In the video, Tyler proposes to Haylee on bended knee, on a cobblestone street in Rome. He proposed this past spring, on their anniversary May 31.
Haylee immediately said yes.
In the video, Tyler promises Greg to take care of his daughter and shower her with love and patience.
"I want to give her experiences people only dream of, and love her unconditionally, because I wouldn't want to see the world with anybody else,” he says. "I'll make you proud to call me your son."
Tyler said the widespread reaction the video has received has been overwhelming. He said people have told him the clip has brought them to tears.
"I tried to do it in a way that was the least sad," he said. "I could have made a proposal video where it was like, 'Ah, cute clips of us, doing whatever.' That's fine and stuff." But it would have failed to acknowledge Greg.
"The reason I wanted to make it was because I didn’t want to just let it go unnoticed that we're going on without him. This is a big point in both of our lives and I didn't want to sweep that under the rug," he said. "I wanted to recognize that Greg was a big part of our lives."
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