Upshaw had been planning the surprise for several months, he said, making calls to a number of OSU departments to see what could be arranged. All the while, he kept the secret from all but the closest family and friends. He was worried some detail of the visit would wind up on Facebook, and the surprise would be ruined, he said.
Although most family and friends didn't know Upshaw would be in town at all, he did have help with arranging the visit. Without giving the secret away, several family members mentioned to Reid that it might be nice if she went to the business school's reception.
The planning and secret-keeping worked, Reid said. Until the moment he walked into the ballroom, she didn't suspect anything out of the ordinary, she said.
“I had no idea,” she said.
Before Saturday, Reid and Upshaw hadn't seen each other since a visit he made to Oklahoma in December. Before that visit, it had been much longer, Upshaw said.
The two keep in close contact while he's away, he said. But it's difficult to see each other in person very often, with thousands of miles and an ocean in between.
“It's few and far between,” he said. “You can't just get in the car and drive.”