There’s no shortage of Ryan Fitzgeralds in this world, but if you Google that name, the one that comes up on the top of a list of more than 50,000 hits is a 20-year-old, unemployed kid from Southbridge, Mass., whose main occupation is talking to strangers on the phone.
He was on TODAY earlier this year after his YouTube invitation to the world to give him call made him something of an Internet celebrity. Today he was back to introduce his fiancée, Kara Lael Fraim, an 18-year-old from upstate New York who saw his YouTube page. Unlike thousands of others who have contacted Fitzgerald, though, she didn’t give him a call.
“Actually, it was through Instant Messenger on line,” Fraim told the TODAY cast on the Plaza. According to news reports, she had lost a brother to suicide. “I really just wanted to instant message him and tell him I thought what he was doing was amazing, because I do the same thing,” she said. “I love reaching out to people.”
The message led to a call, which led to longer calls until Fitzgerald got on a bus and rode out to Cohoes, N.Y., where Fraim lives with her father, for a visit. He’s still there.
“I’ve been at her house the whole time,” he said. “I haven’t left. We’re going to keep that way and then move out to Mass[achusetts].”
Texted the proposal
He popped the question during a midnight walk. It seemed right “to incorporate the phone in it,” so he sent her a text message.
“I sent the standard, ‘Kara Lael Fraim, will you marry me?’” he said. “I nudged her, and she stopped, and the text message went through.”
According to a Boston Globe story, he then got down on his knee and gave her a ring he’d bought at a chain store.
They haven’t set a date for the wedding.
“Her mom and her were talking about 2010 when she’s 21, but it’s probably going to be before that,” said Fitzgerald.
According to the Globe, they have plans to attend community college and get real jobs. But the two young people dressed in jeans T-shirts have no intention of giving up their avocation of talking to people who just need someone to talk to.
“We’re not going to stop the calls, no,” Fitzgerald said, adding that he has been fielding about 150 calls a day. Since posting his 49-second YouTube invitation in early April, he’s had about 70,000 calls.
Asked how long he’ll keep it up, Fitzgerald answered, “A long time.”