On the morning of Thursday, Feb. 13, members of the Volunteer community quickly gathered around the Rock, several poised with cameras, anticipating a big moment.
The Rock had been painted the night before with red, pink and white hues and the words “Grace, will you marry me?”
The official UT Instagram had posted a picture of the Rock early Thursday morning, creating excitement for the proposal that was, according to the painted words, supposed to happen at 11 a.m.
As the anticipated time rolled around, the crowd continued to increase. A tour group led by a UT Ambassador came and went, and minutes later, another tour group arrived at the Rock.
However, the group quickly deviated from their normal proceedings as one of the ambassadors leading the tour, Will Slate, began to lovingly address his fellow ambassador, Grace Bosworth. Gasps could be heard from the crowd, which gazed adoringly at the supposed couple as they looked forward to an engagement, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Slate began by explaining that for two months, he and Bosworth have been going on dates, particularly to McDonald’s, and although it has been a short period of time, he wants to follow his father’s marriage advice.
“It’s been going real good. My dad always told me, he said, ‘When you know, you know,’ and I was like, alright, cool, we’ve been going out on dates for about two months now,” Slate said.
Then, finally, Slate popped the question and stooped to one knee.
“I know it’s, like, kind of soon, but like will you marry me?” Slate said.
Amid cheers from the crowd, Bosworth covered her face and looked surprised. However, the mood quickly changed with her response to Slate’s proposal.
“I’m flattered, truly I am, like this is insane, but I’m sorry, the rock’s just not big enough,” Bosworth said.
The two ambassadors began to smile, revealing to the crowd that they had just duped the entire UT community. Slate confirmed the crowd’s suspicions.
“It’s a joke. It’s a bad joke,” Slate said.
The two ambassadors then posed as a couple to appease the cameras that had been anxiously awaiting their arrival.
Slate explained that, in fact, he was not even the mastermind behind the prank. Some of his fellow ambassadors had painted the Rock the night before and simply informed him that the joke proposal would be part of his tour the following day.
Additionally, Bosworth was not informed about the prank until Slate gave her a heads up Thursday morning.
Slate incorporated the joke into his tour speech, explaining that future Vols could make this mock proposal a reality.
“If any of you guys ever find a special someone out here who loves UT like us, you can paint your own marriage proposal up here,” Slate said.
After the joke’s conclusion, Slate went about his tour spiel in a normal manner, discussing the Rock and the adjacent Student Health Center as if nothing had happened at all.