"I point to my ring and he realized I was engaged!"

By Meghan Overdeep
March 18, 2020
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Credit: Gennie Parnell/Premier Living & Rehab Center

Carly Boyd’s grandfather, Shelton Mahala, 87, is one of thousands of Americans living in nursing homes who can’t receive guests amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

But when Boyd got engaged over the weekend, she couldn’t imagine not sharing the exciting news with Mahala. The 21-year-old nursing student told Good Morning America that she maintains a close relationship with her grandfather. It was important to her that he learned about her engagement from her personally.

With the help of a few staff members at Premier Living & Rehab Center in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, Boyd was able to share an emotional moment with her grandfather without endangering him or any of the residents of the facility.

"When I arrived at the nursing home … I run around the building to get to his bedroom window and they pulled up his blinds," Boyd told GMA. "I point to my ring and he realized I was engaged!"

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Gennie Parnell, the administrator at Premier Living & Rehab Center, was on hand to document it. Photos of the moment, which perfectly capture this strange moment in time, quickly went viral on the center’s Facebook page.

"He was so happy he kept asking me, 'When's the wedding?'" Boyd recalled to GMA. "I know he feels a little trapped right now because of all the restrictions. We both said we love each other, and it was just a really emotional moment."