It should have been one of the happiest days of their lives. It is a true American love story. A North Carolina woman and her boyfriend buy rings and become engaged. They even have professional photos to commemorate the event.

Of course, the engagement occurred in a Walmart, and the photos they have are technically mugshots. That is because the cash they used to finance this soiree was stolen from the woman’s workplace, in a staged robbery conducted by her soon to be betrothed.

This all began early last week when a convenience store clerk told police a man entered the Big Daddy’s convenience store (is it me, or is this story just getting better and better?) where she worked and robbed it. He was purportedly carrying a long, curved knife and demanded money from her. Investigators noticed discrepancies between her story and Big Daddy’s surveillance video. On the video they discovered that it was her boyfriend who entered the store and demanded money. Wait until they are married. He’ll never have any cash on him and will always be asking her for it.

You’d think she would have told him to wear a mask or something, given the presence of those high-fangled recording gizmos. She probably did, but you know men. We just refuse to listen.

Anywhoo, the two are reported to have stolen a total of $2,960 in cash, and it appears they high-tailed it to Walmart where they bought rings and officially became engaged.

How romantic. This really affected me personally. When I became engaged, I insisted on proposing to my wife-to-be on the beach at sunset. I never thought of a truly special place like the Walmart. Now I just feel silly.

Police say they found a video of the engagement on one of the perpetrators cell phones. They also found Big Daddy’s remaining cash in their car, along with a handwritten list of items needed to conduct the bogus robbery. In hindsight, it is a shame that they did not write “mask” on that list.

So now they will probably have to be married in prison, which, while not quite as nice as the Walmart, will allow them to avoid paying for security. And while this likely means the Taco Bell reception has been cancelled, they will at least have a funny story to tell their children. One concern, of course, is that the newly minted husband may meet someone in prison actually named Big Daddy.

That would be ironic. It could be the first time a man becomes both someone’s husband and someone’s wife all in the same week.

For her part, the woman vehemently denies having any role in the robbery plan. I suppose her boyfriend accidentally robbed the Big Daddy’s where she worked in a total coincidence. She must be very good at compartmentalizing, since her non-involvement didn’t prevent her from becoming engaged to the robber just a few hours later. She has, by the way, been charged with armed robbery, misuse of 911, and filing a false police report. Her boyfriend was charged with armed robbery. It is a good thing for both of them that sheer idiocy is not by itself illegal. They could get the guillotine if it was.

The moral of this story is that Big Daddy’s money can buy you happiness, if only so briefly when you fail to mask the underlying issues – or your face. Whichever.

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