When Billy Davis decided to propose to his girlfriend of nearly three years, he didn’t just want the proposal to be special — he wanted it to be extraordinary.
He also wanted it to evoke the chance encounter that brought them together in the first place, on a headed from the Hamptons to New York City.
Just days before the proposal, Davis explained to Patch, “I want to do something that is uniquely ‘us,’ because we met on the Jitney, and I think this will be great surprise for her.”
He said that when he wrote to Hampton Jitney CEO Geoff Lynch to ask if the company would be willing to get involved in an elaborate marriage proposal, he thought he had no shot. But Lynch was more than happy to help. “He literally responded the next day and couldn’t have been nicer,” Davis said.
Hampton Jitney charter manager Susan Williams helped Davis put the plan together.
Davis made dinner plans with his girlfriend, Dawn Aversano, for June 30, and said he would pick her up at her family home in East Hampton. But instead of Davis showing up to get Aversano, a Hampton Jitney would pull into the driveway. Davis explained that the Jitney captain would tell Aversano, “Dawn you’ve been requested,” and when she boards she will find there is no one else on the bus.
“It’s going to drive to one of our favorite places in the Hamptons, the ,” he said.
It went according to plan and at Wölffer, in Sagaponack, he popped the question. She said "Yes," and after enjoying wine and cheese at the vineyard, they boarded the Jitney together to return to East Hampton for another surprise — an engagement party. “I wanted this to be something that our friends and family could celebrate together,” Davis said.
Davis said that he began thinking of how he was going to propose in April. They are both from New Jersey originally, and both of their families have had homes in the Hamptons for a long time.
“We’ve been taking the Jitney for 15 years, at least, each and it’s been a big part of our lives,” Davis said.
He recalled their first encounter: “I was taking the Jitney home from Bridgehampton one summer day in July of ’09 and there were only a few spots left on the bus,” he said. “I see this pretty girl sitting all by herself with all of her bags on the seat.” He was determined to meet her. “I was going to sit next to this pretty girl and have her talk to me.”
Aversano moved her bags, and they talked and “people watched” the whole ride to New York City, he said. “That was basically our first date.”
When they got off the bus on 39th Street, Davis asked Aversano to a movie. He got her number, and texted her that same night. “I couldn’t even wait,” he said.