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Man dresses up as lobster and pens children's book to propose to girlfriend

Preschool teacher Elsa Cremer thought it was just another day at work until she was asked to read a story called "Bobster the Lobster."
/ Source: TODAY

A California man surprised his girlfriend with an unforgettable proposal when he dressed up as a giant lobster and interrupted her at the preschool where she works — a hilarious moment that was caught on video.

"Last Monday morning, as I was prepping my classroom for the day, I received a call from my boss wondering if I'd mind reading a story to the kids while they recorded me for 'marketing purposes,'" explained Elsa Cremer, a teacher at Piper Preschool in Santa Monica, California.

What she didn't know was that her own boyfriend had made the book, "Bobster the Lobster," and he was hiding outside waiting for the moment she got to the last page, when the cartoon lobster proposes to his beloved crab. That's when Joe Graceffa, Cremer's now-fiance, would jump out in a lobster costume.

Graceffa, 38, told he wanted the proposal to be special and knew it would mean the most at the school where Cremer works, but he was initially hesitant about the plan.

"I was nervous about it being invasive and weird for the kids, but once I got permission from her bosses, they were like, no, it's great, we'll help in any way we can," he said.

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Graceffa, who runs a coupon code website, wrote and illustrated the book himself, and said he tossed in a few hints to Cremer that it was loosely based on the two of them.

"Some of the details in the book are places we've visited," Graceffa said. "I was nervous about tipping her off too early. But in retrospect, she had no clue. She was on camera, so maybe she was reading the words but not really digesting them."

Even the fake names of the book's author and illustrator were a clue: "Ivan Yutusayez" and "Hope Tizwurks." (Say those aloud a few times.)

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As for the kids who watched this all go down, he's not sure they grasped the seriousness of the moment: "They were pretty unaffected by the whole thing," Graceffa said. "But the next day, some of the parents said they came home and said, 'Ms. Elsa got married to a lobster!'"

And once the cameras were off, he says Cremer, 32, was pleased with the proposal.

"In the moment, I couldn't tell how it went over, but after we left the room she was excited, and appreciated the effort," he said. "And ultimately, I figured no matter how bad this goes, I should at least get credit for the effort."