By Luke Kenton
This is cerebral palsy suffering teen finally got his own back on his best friend by surprising her at college to ask her to prom, after being surprised by her twice in the two year previous.
College student Erica Zirkelback, 19, is no stranger to elaborate promposals, having surprised her best friend Michael with the all important question twice – at Disneyland and on her school stage – but the tables were certainly turned on April 6.
Walking in her college dorm at Butler University, Indianapolis, Erica is greeted by the strange sight of her friends huddled in a circle in the middle of the room, before calling out “Michael?”, who emerged from within.
Asking her to take a seat, Michael adorably confesses to Erica that she’s “beautiful, fun and his best-friend,” before an ensemble of Erica’s sorority sisters gather behind him, holding up a series of letters, reading as “Prom?”
Leaping to her feet, Erica wraps her hands around Michael, who she met three years ago through a school program called “best buddies” – a scheme that matched up a special needs student with a companion.
Erica then announces “Yes” as the onlookers roar in applause.
Helping Michael to mastermind the emotional surprise, Erica’s mum, Linda, said: “Ever since they met through ‘best buddies’ they’ve been exactly that.
“Their friendship was immediate. I think they just clicked – they become very close, very fast.
“He’d been planning it for about a week, so I contacted one of Erica’s sorority sisters and started making the ‘Prom?’ letters
“Erica thought that she was going to dinner with her friends and Michael had been practising what he was going to say all week – he was a little nervous.
“She came down the stairs and the girls parted – she was so shocked and she really isn’t easy to surprise.
“She said she never expected him to be standing there.
“I think it meant a lot to her to have him do it there with her sorority sisters.
“She loves college and is very close with them – it was a lovely moment for them all to share.”
In 2016, after Michael was granted a wish from the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund to go to Disneyland, Erica wanted to make the trip extra special for her closest companion by having the princesses summon him on stage to ask him to prom.
Then, a year later, Erica pulled out all of the stops once again, where, during a school talent show, she stepped out in front of the whole school to request his accompaniment once again.
This time, though, it was Michael’s turn to showcase his admiration for Erica, and the inseparable duo can’t wait for the big day, on May 5.
Linda said: “Everyone loved it, and their friendship is just amazing.
“Erica’s dress is awesome – they’ll meet for pictures and go to dinner.
“They’re both really looking forward to it.”