Love on the Water Taxi
On a boat normally frequented by commuters and Mariners fans, West Seattle residents Irene Stewart and Bruce Butterfield found an entirely different use for the Elliott Bay Water Taxi: They got engaged.
On June 25, Stewart and Butterfield were celebrating their tenth anniversary of dating. Ten years earlier, they had taken the Water Taxi downtown for their first date, and they decided this year to do the same in celebration.
"We took the Water Taxi to make it easy on ourselves - nothing fancy, just a fun ride to a restaurant downtown," said Stewart, who as an aide to then King County Councilmember Greg Nickels was instrumental in getting the service started.
Stewart said everything seemed normal until the vessel approached Pier 55 on the downtown waterfront. All of a sudden, the captain veered to the left and turned the boat around so it faced West Seattle. Everyone onboard was quite confused.
Almost everyone, that is.
For Butterfield, this was all part of the plan. Earlier in the day, he made several trips to Seacrest Park to speak with the captain and crew, and enlist their support.
With the city skyline in the background (hence the turning of the ship) and two crewmembers filming, a packed deck watched with surprise as Butterfield knelt down on one knee and asked Stewart to marry him.
Everyone cheered. But Butterfield shushed them. "She hasn't said 'yes' yet," he said, but Stewart quickly agreed. There was more cheering downtown as the Water Taxi docked and the newly engaged couple continued on their journey - in more ways than one.
Stewart is currently director of the Seattle Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens, and was a member of the Seattle School Board from 2003 to 2007. Butterfield is a Realtor with Prudential Northwest Realty at Jefferson Square and president of the Fauntleroy Community Association. No date has been set, but the two anticipate a summer 2009 wedding.
Funded by the King County Ferry District, the Water Taxi costs $3 per person and crosses Elliott Bay in just 12 minutes - faster and cheaper than taking your car! For a schedule, call 206-553-3000 or go to http://transit.metrokc.gov/tops/oto/water_taxi.html.
James Bush is a legislative aide in the office of County Council member Dow Constantine and may be reached via email@example.com