Exeter bus drivers engaged after romantic Stagecoach depot proposal

Romantic Exeter bus driver Chris Oakley surprises colleague Fiona Smith with a ‘Will You Marry Me? overhead display.
Romantic Exeter bus driver Chris Oakley surprised his partner Fiona Smith with a ‘Will You Marry Me? overhead display. Credit: BPM Media

Two years after meeting at work, a romantic Exeter bus driver decided to surprise his partner and colleague with a special bus bearing a ‘Will You Marry Me? display.

Chris Oakley proposed to fellow driver Fiona Smith after a recent health scare made him release time is too precious to waste.

He had hoped to take Fiona abroad for the special occasion, but was unable to do so due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Instead Chris dreamed up the idea of getting down on one knee at the place the couple first met - the Stagecoach bus depot based at Matford in Exeter.Chris joined Stagecoach in 2016 and Fiona started in 2019. They began their relationship not long after Fiona became a driver at the Exeter depot.

He said: "I knew within six months that she was the one."The effort Chris and his friends went to certainly paid off because Fiona said she is "on cloud nine" after the romantic gesture, and had "no idea at all" Chris was planning the surprise.

Despite the happy ending, Chris said he ‘was petrified’ in the build-up to the proposal.

There were a lot of drivers signing on for work that day, and the event got everyone’s attention.

Chris revealed he’d kept the group of people in the know very small, but said it had been very difficult to keep the event under wraps.

The newly-engaged couple are already planning their big day. They have a date in mind and are hoping to book a venue.

Chris, who followed in his grandad's footsteps by becoming a bus driver, is hoping Stagecoach South West’s vintage Routemaster vehicle will be able to play a part in their special day.

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