It was an average Saturday when David Keller, 23, and Grazia Palacios, 25, stopped by an Exxon gas station to pick up the TIMES NEWS last weekend.

But when Keller handed Saturday's newspaper to his girlfriend, she wasn't expecting anything other than the local news. Instead, she received a marriage proposal printed on the front page:

"Grazia Palacios, will you marry me? Since you moved to Pennsylvania nine years ago, I knew that you were someone special. Since our first date, I could not wait to ask you this. It has been nearly five months since our first date on September 28. Since that day, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. You are my best friend, my girlfriend, my love, and I want to know if you will be my partner in life. Grazia Palacios, will you be my wife? Love, David Keller."

"I was so shocked. It was the most beautiful thing," said Palacios, who currently lives in Albrightsville. "I couldn't finish reading the entire paragraph. I was so excited, of course, but I couldn't believe it. I wasn't expecting this!"

Keller added a touch of traditionalism when he got down on one knee to formally propose. She said yes, and they've now begun planning for a May 28, 2011 wedding.

The two have known each other for more than five years and met while she was a waitress at Valerio's restaurant in Albrightsville. They began dating in September 2009.

While the couple had begun talking about marriage, they hadn't made any firm plans. Keller joked that she would need to propose to him if they were going to get married, because times have changed and it's no longer the man's job to propose marriage. When Valentine's Day and a romantic vacation on the beaches of the Dominican Republic passed last month, she thought he might be serious about not proposing. Keller was thrilled that she hadn't suspected anything.

"I really wanted it to be a surprise," he added. "I think you enjoy it more when you're not expecting something like this."

He got the idea of proposing in a newspaper advertisement from a friend in Jim Thorpe, who proposed to his girlfriend by creating a book about their relationship. On the last pages of the book, his asked his girlfriend to marry him, and finished the book with "To Be Continued…"

Keller thought that this was a fun, original way to approach the subject, and started searching for other ways to pop the question. He had hoped to propose on the anniversary of their fifth date, but Feb. 28 fell on a Sunday, when no paper is printed. Instead, he settled for an advertisement on Feb. 27.

Since last weekend, the two have been busy announcing their engagement to friends and family. Of course, it wasn't a surprise for local loved ones who saw Saturday's paper but Palacios couldn't be happier with how things have turned out.

"It was so cute," she said of the advertisement. "I knew in my heart that he was the one."

They plan to reside in Effort, where Keller currently lives, after the wedding. While they haven't made many plans yet, they know that their wedding will be special.

"We have an idea of what we want, but no details yet," said Keller. "We'd like a small wedding with family."