From the hospital to the alter
On Saturday, May 16, The Gleaner published a story titled "No regrets" - about Alexander Lee, who is a great stepfather to his common-law wife Patricia Watson's eight children. This story caught the attention of telecommunications giant Digicel, and they decided to plan an extraordinary surprise for Alexander for Father's Day.
Contact was made with the couple, but Alexander was led to believe he would be attending a special Father's Day dinner where he would be honoured on Friday, June 19. Unbeknownst to him, Patricia and Digicel decided that the best way to show their appreciation to him was to honour him with the ultimate act of love - a wedding ceremony.
But wasn't this gesture too big a surprise? What if Lee didn't really want to get married, especially by way of sponsorship.
"The great thing about this is that we know that Patricia and Alexander have wanted to get married for a long time now; they just haven't been able to for one reason or another," a Digicel representative explained.
"So, with that information, we worked with Patricia and the rest of the family, as well as their friends to make this a reality. When we spoke to Alexander, his love for Patricia and his desire to marry her could not have been clearer."
So, they planned an all-expense paid wedding ceremony and reception at Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel on Waterloo Road. Patricia revealed to Flair that she was excited, yet frightened when Digicel pitched the idea to her, but appreciated the opportunity to be married, because, as a Christian, she was a bit uncomfortable with her common-law status.
A few of her children were told of the surprise wedding, and Alexander, seemed to be overwhelmed by the opportunity to sing at a luncheon in his honour at Terra Nova, to the point where Patricia followed him there to see what the place was like. However, he was a bit concerned that all the communications were with Patricia and not him. So, while Alexander was looking forward to a luncheon where he would perhaps sing a few songs, Patricia was looking forward to their big day. She said she was sure that Alexander would accept her proposal. Yes, the plan was for her to propose to him.
Beautiful Brides and Mr Tux were also brought on board, and Alexander was fitted for a suit as he was told he would be treated like a true king.
Digicel obtained his ring size by asking him to try on a ring for a Digicel executive whose boyfriend hands seem to be the same as his.
Last Thursday night, the day before his big day, Alexander was at his job on a construction site in Queen's Hill, St Andrew, when two armed men entered the premises. The robbers asked for money, but they had none, so Alexander was butted twice, creating two wounds which bled profusely.
He and another colleague were eventually tied up, and the robbers took the keys to the building in which they were sleeping.
As daylight came, the men were able to loosen their bonds and escaped through a window.
Patricia was contacted and the police took Alexander to a medical facility, where he was told there might be internal bleeding, and he would have to be hospitalised for two days. The luncheon he was so looking forward to seemed like it wasn't going to happen.
"Big man, tell me suppen better than that, because if a dead mi dead, mi ago dead, enuh, because I am going where I am suppose to go, and if a de Devil a try fi stop mi from going where mi suppose fi, go mi ago mek him know say him is a loser," Alexander told the doctor who transferred him to KPH.
Patricia was there waiting, having rushed from St Catherine after hearing the news. The Gleaner and Digicel were shocked, as it seemed the fairytale day was turning into a nightmare. Alexander said he told the doctor at KPH to just to stitch him up as he had somewhere to go.
Having left the hospital and checked into separate rooms at Terra Nova All Suite hotel, while Alexander was in his room speaking with representatives from The Gleaner and Digicel, Patricia entered, knelt and proposed. Alexander's face lit up as he put his arms around her and accepted.
The dressing was quick, the ceremony brief, and joyous as official and unofficial photographers jostled to get the perfect shots of the red-and-white affair.
At the regular egging of the well-wishers they kissed, and kissed again, and kissed many times over. Their children were obviously happy for them.
A tired, and somewhat dazed Alexander kept his head, despite the wounds. He and Patricia were young again as they exchanged pieces of their wedding cake, and danced for the first time as husband and wife.