David Knittle and Breanna Deuel, like many dads and daughters, agree on very few things. Except this one: Laughter is the best medicine.
The duo will tell you now, looking back on it all, it’s a lot easier to find the humor in the situation. But the very real possibility that David may have come into contact with someone who had COVID-19 just 48 hours before Breanna’s wedding in April presented one of the most stressful situations they’d ever faced.
In Episode 2 of the Corner Story podcast, hear the “COVID Bride” and her dad explain how they quickly turned to the Walgreens team in Olympia, Wash., to help ensure her special day would continue to go off without a hitch.
First, listen as Breanna recalls her blissful, pre-COVID engagement and how the pandemic affected her grand wedding plans.
Breanna Deuel: We got engaged Dec. 21, 2019. So right before COVID really started to hit. I'm an attorney, so I'm very Type A personality. So I start planning probably way before anybody else should be planning. And so I started planning pretty much immediately – what I wanted, what it was going to look like. I knew I wanted a bigger wedding and I wanted like an actual formal wedding. But as COVID came around, I definitely started to panic here and there about how many people would be able to attend, if we should be rescheduling it. Thankfully, both me and my now husband decided that no matter what we were going to go forward on the day, whether that meant we had just family and friends at the wedding, or if it was just close family, we were going to go through with it no matter what.
It was probably about a month or two before the actual wedding. At that point, everything was shut down to where it was only basically family who could attend because we had to be at a certain capacity for the venue. We had sent out notifications to pretty much everyone saying, “Hey, sorry. We wish you could be there, but unfortunately, we can only have family per the mandates.” And then probably three days later it came out that the restrictions loosened, so then everybody could attend. So we then had to contact each and every single person saying, “Hey, just kidding. Disregard what you're about to get into the mail.”
As the wedding to-do list grew longer and longer, Breanna remembers what was going through her mind in the week leading up to the wedding this April.
Breanna: I personally think, and I would say that I was on the calmer side. Now, whether or not my family would say that is a different story (No they would not say that). I felt like I had everything I needed, but it was more of just going through the check boxes to make sure that we had everything organized, we weren't forgetting something. I mean, we were still getting RSVPs that late, some family were letting us know up till the day before the wedding, whether or not they'd be able to make it. So the week before the wedding, I was stressed, but I don't think I was panicking as bad as I thought I would because I had prepared for so long. I was just more worried about COVID and then also, if anybody in the bridal party would get it, if me or my now husband, Nick, would get it. If my family would get it, are we going to be a super spreader that ends up in the news of the COVID and it was just, that was what I was more worried about then I think how the wedding would proceed.
A bride who describes herself as calm and considerate mere days before her wedding? Let’s see if Dad agrees.
David Knittle: Well, we were just kind of more waiting for Bridezilla to show up. She had been good actually the whole time, we were kind of just waiting for her to have the Bridezilla moment. I'm kind of old school. I kind of let her do her own thing. And so she pulled it together, and we only had one little issue at the end. And that's where Walgreens came in.
David: I had a friend come in from out of town. We've been friends since grade school. And so he was attending the wedding. And he shows up, and no problems. We went to dinner a couple of times and, you know, getting ready for the wedding thing. He's staying here. I think it was the day before rehearsal, he starts to get like flu symptoms, and I didn't really think anything of it. So he said, “Well, I'll just stay in my room. I should be good in a couple of days.” So he kind of stayed away from us. I just figured it was a cold, like anybody else gets.
And so the day before, Breanna and I talked, and I told her, “He's got a cold or flu or something like that.” She's like, “What are you doing? You can't be around him.” After I got off the phone and was thinking about it, I'm like, oh jeez. I can't go to this wedding. This is not going to be good. And we had my mother pass away just like the year prior. So it was kind of important for me to be there. Breanna and her were real tight. So, you know, another family member not there would have been, just been a disaster. My family is big on my side. I had lots of friends that were coming. So it would have been, you know, not good if I wouldn't have been there.
Breanna: I was in full panic mode. I found out about my dad's friend at the house being sick from my stepmom, who had said it. And then I think I could kind of hear the panic in her voice when I started panicking and was like, “Wait, what? He’s sick? Nobody told me. What's going on?” Then I called my dad and was like, “What is going on? He's sick? I can't have you come.” I didn't want to jeopardize anybody else's health. I was in full panic mode because, obviously, it's my dad. And so I think every girl imagines their dad walking them down the aisle. So I was like, oh God. What if he can't walk me down the aisle? Who's going to do it? These are moments that you can't get back. What's going to happen? And then if he can't come, can my stepmom not come either? And then I was like, oh God, who else can't come then? I was in a little bit of a spiral mode for a while until we found out the results the day of rehearsal. It was hard, obviously, to make that decision, but I told him, I said, “Look, if you have COVID or if you don't go get a test, you can't come. I can't jeopardize other people like that.” So then he kind of went into action mode and went and got the test done.
At this point, it’s wedding rehearsal day and the clock is ticking. David enters what he calls “fix-it” mode … and begins searching for the closest place that would give him the fastest COVID test results possible.
David: So the next morning, which was a Friday, I believe, I start searching around where I could get tested and get in for the same-day result. Because we had a bunch of, you know, wedding stuff we had to do on Friday and Saturday. So I started scouring around to see who could do it. And so I made a phone call to a friend of mine, she's in the medical field. So I asked her, I said, “Hey, you know, where can I get this?” So then I bounced around a couple of different places, and she called me back and she goes, “Go to Walgreens on Cooper Point.” And I said, “Oh, OK. Cool.” So I raced over to Walgreens there on Cooper Point, and I walk in and it's pretty empty. It's, you know, 9 in the morning on a Friday. And so the manager happened to be there.
And Chris comes up to me, and so I told him situation, I said, “Look, I got to get a COVID test. And I need the result today.” And he's like, “Well, I think we can do something like that. But you know, you're not in the system. Let me see what I can do. When the pharmacy opens up in another hour, I'll come out and get you.” Finally, he came out to my truck and he says, “Let's see what we can do.”
And you know, I'm thinking, God, I'm going to miss this wedding. I can't go if I'm sick. I don't know if I'm not sick. So I can't go if there's a chance.
So I get inside and the pharmacy girls are like, “No problem. We're going to make this happen.” And Chris goes, “Do whatever it takes.” So, they got me in line, got me registered up and rolled me through and tested me. And later the girls called me personally and she goes, “I got the results back. You're good to go.” And then I said, “OK, cool. “And she goes, “Well, I hope the wedding turns out really good for you. I’m glad that we could help you and get you to go.”
Oh, it was just, yeah, it was just great. I was like, oh, OK. That changes my life. Because if I couldn’t have been there, that would've been just bad. I can't even imagine. I mean, it was a big relief. It could have been life-changing.
Breanna: I think for me, my initial response was, “Oh, thank God!” [laughs] I think that was my biggest response because it just relieved a lot of stress. I think the main stressor going into rehearsal day. And then I could focus on everything else that was happening.
Oh, right! What was happening was a wedding. Before the arm-in-arm walk comes the first look. That moment when the bride does her big reveal for the groom, bridal party or other important family members. Keep listening for David’s most unusual reaction, which to Breanna was nothing short of perfect.
David: Well, we have a relationship that if I don’t tease you, if I don’t give you some crap a little bit here and there. I don't like you. So I kind of try to make everything a joke. So Breanna's big thing was, we're going to make dad cry. We're going to make dad cry. So I was like, well, that ain't gonna happen. So when they did the reveal, where they have you stand with your back turned, and your daughter comes up behind you and taps on your shoulder and you're supposed to see her and everybody cries, and it's a Kodak moment. Well, I turned around and, of course, she starts blubbering. And so, me being me, I shot out, “Is that what you're wearing?” So it eased it up a little bit. And I think it made a good picture.
Breanna: So I knew I wanted to do a first look with my dad because again, like he was saying, I mean, the goal is to get them to at least tear up. We're very similar in the fact that we tease each other and everyone pretty much in the family. And when we're in uncomfortable situations, we like to just make a joke out of it because it's better than dealing with the uncomfortable situation. So the first time when I turned around, I was not expecting him to say it, but then he said what he said, “Is that what you're wearing?” And it did ease the tension. And then when we had to do it again, you can see it in the video, but the next time when he turned around, he goes, holy moly. And so it eased a lot of the tension, and I did get emotional, but, yeah, it was good, I thought.
And then comes the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The pair lined up and waited to walk out to the crowd … but not before a few more dad jokes.
David: They had everybody going out, and we kind of lined up. So Breanna and I kind of lined up, and she's like, “We don't go yet. We don't go yet. We go here. This is when we're going.” I'm like, yeah, I'm just here for, you know, doing what I'm supposed to do. So we start walking down. So I said, “Are you sure about this? I got the car out back full of gas. It'll get you to Canada.” She goes, “I don't know if that'd be far enough.” So it was kind of the same type of thing. I just kind of tried to keep her from getting upset.
Breanna: And so then I remember standing there, and then I remember walking down, but thankfully, my dad was kind of distracting me with his comments pretty much all the way down the aisle, but I was kind of reminding myself, OK, smile, pictures are happening. So I'm like smiling while talking to him, hopefully nobody was hearing. And then also focusing on trying not to trip on my dress or anything down the aisle.
Clearly there was no shortage of memorable moments, but we asked them to pick one. Learn what both David and Breanna will cherish most from this day.
Breanna: I think probably the best moment for me was just having everybody there. With COVID it was nerve-wracking if everybody was going to show, who was going to show, I had a lot of family members that I don't see very often. Everyone was there. My dad and my mom have been divorced since I was 4. And so it was nice to have my entire family all together, as well as Nick's family, because I don't know a ton of his family, his distant family. So I was able to meet some of his family while we were there. I was just happy that I'm surrounded by so many people and everybody's having fun and everybody gets to see each other because I mean, there were several different family members and friends that hadn't even seen each other in a really long time. And so just being able to see everybody else's happiness on the day was really good.
Many family and friends joined in the celebration that day, but it was store manager Chris Pontes and pharmacy technician Carolyn Anderson whose dedication behind-the-scenes made it all possible. And this newlywed and her dad are endlessly thankful.
Breanna: Unfortunately I didn't get to meet any of them because I didn't even know where my dad was going at that point. I was like, just get it done. You need to go figure this out. But I think at this point, now knowing that they were able to get it so fast that they went above and beyond what they needed to to make sure that my dad was able to attend. I think the biggest thing is like a huge thank you for going that extra mile for making sure that my dad was taken care of and for making sure that my dad had the results to be able to attend the wedding, and to be able to get those results fast enough that we knew about it before the wedding happened, and we didn't have to wait until the day of to know if he can show up or not, which relieved a lot of stress. I think the biggest thing is just thank you for doing that because otherwise I potentially wouldn't have been able to have my dad at the wedding.
David: Yeah, I'd have to agree with Bre on that, which is not very common. [laughs] No, I guess I would have to say to the team that pretty much what I told him in the letter that, you know, those guys made it happen. And like I said before, I've had good employees, I’ve had bad employees. And Chris and the girls just absolutely made it happen. I mean, I kind of have that personality. I fix everything. I'm going to fix it, and I'm not going to take no for an answer. And I make it happen. My kids always come to me if there's any issues on anything, I'm the first one they call. So for Chris to do that, that's kind of my personality, my type. If he wasn't employed by Walgreens, I'd steal him from you. [laughs]
Sorry, David, but we’ll be keeping Chris to ourselves for now.
We asked Mr. Dad Jokes himself for any last words – speak now or forever hold your peace. And this will come as a shock to no one, but he did not disappoint.
David: As far as me, Walgreens did a DNA test, and we found out Breanna's not my daughter.
Breanna: Oh, my God. [laughs]
David: No, no. I think it's all been good. Everything turned out great. I mean, I guess because we consider it the happy ending.
Thanks to the Olympia, Wash., Walgreens team, David’s negative COVID-19 rapid test resulted in the most positive outcome for all. And for Breanna and her now husband, Nick, it was just the beginning of their happily ever after.