Couple's Love Affair a Real Whale's Tale - NBC 6 South Florida

Couple's Love Affair a Real Whale's Tale

Connecticut couple comes back to Miami to thank the killer whale who helped them get hitched



    The Kamercias consider the orca that helped get them hitched family. (Published Monday, Aug. 15, 2011)

    Lolita the Killer Whale might want to think about changing her stage name to Lolita the Match Maker.

    Just ask Jim and Maureen Kamercia, who credit Miami's resident celebrity orca with helping them get engaged 25 years ago.

    The couple, who now lives in Connecticut, is on vacation in South Florida and visited their sea mammal friend Monday to mark the occasion at Miami Seaquarium.

    "It's just brought back so many memories and it's so emotional," said Jim Kamercia. "We just love her, and we love this place. It's special.

    In 1986, Jim and Maureen were just dating but often came to the Miami Seaquarium to spend the day. What Maureen didn't know was that on this day, Aug. 15, her boyfriend had called officials at the park and asked them to help make his proposal as big as the whale in the tank.

    With killer whale trainer Eric Eimstad in on the act, Jim and Maureen were called out of the audience and asked to participate in the whale show.

    That's when Lolita took over.

    The killer whale grabbed a scroll that was tossed in the tank and delivered it to Eimstad, who asked Jim Kamercia to read it. Maureen Kamercia said she was still unsure what was happening until she saw her boyfriend drop to one knee and ask her to marry him.

    "He said, 'I love you and I want top spend the rest of my life with you.' And just like I did today, I started bawling," Maureen Kamercia said. "No one believes it. It's a fairy tale."

    More like a whale's tale.

    On Monday, the Kamercias shared their love for Lolita with their two children, Jordan and Chip, who had never been to the Miami Seaquarium.

    Eimstad, who is now an executive at the park, also joined the reunion and recalled what he thought when he was first approached with the idea.

    "I thought the guy was a little crazy," he said. "But I thought it was a cute, heart-warming idea."