'Stephanie, will you marry me?' Northern power technician's proposal reaches new heights

Chris Kemshall of Inuvik, N.W.T., went above and beyond while proposing to his girlfriend.

'I didn’t even see the guys in the bucket truck until later,' says Stephanie Hansen

Chris Kemshall is a power line technician and last week, his team and a few RCMP officers pulled off a proposal stunt and she said 'yes!' (Submitted by Chris Kemshall)

When two RCMP officers showed up at Stephanie Hansen's workplace on Thursday, she received unsettling news about her car. Little did she know, her day was about to flip upside down and soar sky-high in a matter of minutes.

Hansen, a vital statistics specialist in Inuvik, N.W.T., was printing out a birth certificate when she was interrupted.

"Of course, right away you see the RCMP and you're like: Oh my God, what is going on?" said Hansen.

The officers told Hansen that all four of her car's tires were slashed, and that she had to come with them immediately to verify.

Chris Kemshall (left) proposed to his now-fiancée Stephanie Hansen (right) last Thursday. (Submitted by Chris Kemshall)

"I'm [in] panic mode and a little emotional," recalled Hansen.

She said she was "completely frazzled" as she led the officers down the stairs, and thought to call her boyfriend Chris Kemshall to tell him what happened. 

I didn't get a full yes out of her because… she was hyperventilating and stuff.- Chris Kemshall

But as soon as she exited the building, there stood Kemshall, beaming in his power technician suit in all its bright orange and yellow glory.

Confusion ensued on Hansen's face, according to Kemshall, a power line technician with the Northwest Territories Power Corporation.

"Her facial expression, it was priceless," he said.

Kemshall then got on his knees and proposed to his girlfriend of six months.

Chris Kemshall proposed to his girlfriend using cranes, cops and a banner last week. 0:49

"I didn't get a full 'Yes' out of her because… she was hyperventilating and stuff," said Kemshall, who added his girlfriend was shaking and crying.

"She put both her hands out, and I was like, 'Well I just need one," he said laughing.

"He caught me off guard," said Hansen. "It [was] from one extreme of 'Oh my gosh my tires' to being told how much you mean to someone."

Hansen was so thrown off that she didn't even notice the careful balancing act of two tall cranes in front of her, coming together. Two NTPC workers were waving a heavy duty vinyl banner between them with the words "Stephanie, will you marry me?"

A balancing act of NTPC trucks and workers to carry out Kemshall's proposal to his girlfriend. (Submitted by Chris Kemshall)

"I didn't even see the guys in the bucket truck until later," she said.  

"It melted my heart."

Love through torn ligaments

Although it's been a week since they got engaged, Hansen says she's still in shock.

The couple met at the Inuvik Curling Club last fall. (Submitted by Chris Kemshall)

The couple met last fall at the local curling club.

Only a few months into their relationship, Hansen had an accident that tore the ligaments in her ankle.

"I couldn't walk for almost two months," she said.

It was through this challenge that Hansen realized she found someone truly special.

"He literally sat through that with me every single day and took care of me," she said. "I knew he was definitely the one."

"I knew you were the one from the first time I laid eyes on you," said Kemshall. "Always and forever."

About the Author

Priscilla Hwang


Priscilla Hwang is a reporter with CBC News based in Ottawa. She's worked with the investigative unit, CBC Toronto, and CBC North in Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Iqaluit. Before joining the CBC in 2016, she travelled across the Middle East and North Africa to share people's stories. She has a Master of Journalism from Carleton University and speaks Korean, Tunisian Arabic, and dabbles at classical Arabic and French. Want to contact her? Email or @prisksh on Twitter.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.