Sade had no interest in becoming a military girlfriend.
When her boyfriend Darius mentioned joining the Air Force, she didn’t want to hear it. They fought about it, but he never changed his mind.
In November 2018, he left for BMT (Basic Military Training).
“I broke down. I cried,” says Sade. “I just lost myself.”
But by the end of BMT, she knew she couldn’t live without him.
Near or far, she was in it for the long haul.
“Basic training has made us completely stronger. When he was here, I loved him and he really loved me. Sometimes I took him for granted,” she says. “You never know what you’re gonna miss until it’s gone. I did not know I would miss him and need him that much.”
Now as Darius wraps up tech training school in Missouri, Sade is mentally preparing for their move across country to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
She sees things a little differently these days as an Air Force wife.
“It’s a whole different culture and lifestyle, but I’m anxious and excited to see what New Mexico has to offer,” she says. “I’ve learned to embrace it and take the good with the bad.”
Basic Military Training is Tough
Even though she Googled all she could about the Air Force, nothing could prepare Sade for BMT.
“The hardest part about BMT was no communication. We literally talked all through the day before he had left. To not be able to talk to him was very hard. He’s my best friend. That lack of communication, it hit hard,” Sade says.
So when she found out about Sandboxx letters through a Facebook group, she signed right up.
Unfortunately, the process didn’t go as smooth as Sade hoped. Her very first letter to Darius kept processing, but he never received it.
Agitated and emotional, Sade reached out to the Sandboxx customer happiness experts to find out where her letter went.
She connected with Morena Lopez, a Sandboxx marketing representative who worked quickly to figure out what was going on with Sade’s letter.
Within an hour, Sade’s letter was on its way.
“Sure enough, she fixed it,” Sade says.
For her trouble, Morena gave Sade a free letter credit.
“From then on, I enjoyed using Sandboxx,” she says. “I used it faithfully.”
A Special Christmas Season Delivery
Sade got a special letter delivered to her not long after Darius left for basic training.
In fact, on December 27 she got a handwritten letter that would change her life.
Darius proposed to her.
He also sent a separate letter to her parents asking for their blessings.
Sade sent Darius a letter with a single word: Yes.
“We didn’t do a traditional engagement,” she says. “It was pretty different. He wasn’t here to propose to me.”
With BMT graduation coming up in January 2019, Sade and Darius wanted to plan a wedding relatively fast.
In a matter of weeks fast.
And, on the day of his graduation.
“I had to plan everything so quickly,” says Sade. “I didn’t have anything [for a wedding].”
Throughout Darius’ BMT training, Sade kept in touch with Morena at Sandboxx.
She had so many questions about Air Force life.
Morena, a retired Air Force vet, had the answers.
After their initial chat, the two ended up trading phone numbers and continued texting almost daily. When graduation drew near, Morena updated Sade on what she would need to know about getting on base, seeing her Airman, and more.
As Sade started wedding planning, she thought about who she wanted there. Darius happened to be training at the same base where Morena worked.
“She’s done the whole nine yards,” says Sade. “I told Darius, ‘This lady has really been a benefit to me. I think she deserves the honor of being at our wedding.’”
Sade asked Morena to be there.
Morena said yes.
Graduation and Wedding Day Wrapped into One
The days leading up to Darius’ graduation were a blur.
By December’s end, both Morena and Sade were knee-deep in wedding planning.
Morena helped from afar with what she could. She got Sade the contact information for local photographers and hair and makeup artists.
“Instead of a work relationship it became a friendship relationship,” Morena says.
When graduation day rolled around, Morena took the day off to help.
Up until that point, Morena had never met Sade in person.
Before the graduation ceremony started, they connected on the phone trying to locate each other on the busy Lackland Air Force Base.
Among the crowds, they spotted one another and ran to each other for a hug.
“It was like, ‘There’s my best friend,’” Morena says of the meeting. “I loved it [this experience]. I loved that this person had no idea about the military and that I was helping her. It was amazing.”
She adds, “It was a wonderful feeling to have that personal contact with somebody. How many thousands of people do I get to talk to on a monthly basis and finally get to meet one in person?”
Immediately after graduation, Morena took on the role of impromptu wedding coordinator.
She instructed family members where to meet, including the groom, for the ceremony.
“Ms. Morena helped me out tremendously,” says Sade. “My mom wasn’t able to go. She helped me with my dress. She took pictures. She even drove me from the hotel to the courthouse. She told me, ‘I don’t want Darius to see your dress, let me drive you there.’”
While Sade prepped, Morena asked if she had something old, something borrowed, and something blue.
Morena handed over her bracelet for Sade to wear.
A Happily Ever After For All
Despite the chaos of the day, Sade is happy when she thinks of her wedding day.
“It was one of the best days of my life,” Sade says.
Through it all, Sade said she couldn’t have done it without Morena.
“She even signed my marriage certificate,” says Sade. “Her name is officially on one of the lines as one of the witnesses.”
While not every interaction may end up with a wedding invite, Morena says she loves her job in providing customer happiness. It’s always her goal to help others, she says.
She and Sade still talk all the time, and it’s a story the both of them are unlikely to forget anytime soon. To them, it’s proof that sometimes things that go awry can turn into beautiful experiences, too.
“The whole thing was big and heartwarming,” Morena says.
“It’s an amazing story,” Sade agrees. “If it wasn’t for Sandboxx, I wouldn’t have met Ms. Morena, and I wouldn’t have been able to share my story with anyone else who needs to hear it. I would definitely recommend Sandboxx to anybody.”
Do you have a unique Sandboxx story? We’d love to hear it! Share your story in the comments below!