NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Cheers for health care workers may have sounded a bit louder one recent night on the Upper East Side.

That’s because one doctor got the surprise of a lifetime, a fire escape marriage proposal, and her neighbors were there to witness it all, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported Sunday.

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Aaron Lesser had timed his proposal for this exact moment, to show Talia Stark, his girlfriend, what she meant to him and the world.

He got down on one knee last Thursday, just as the city began its sacred 7 p.m. ritual of clapping for health care workers.

“He just said, ‘I love you so much. And you’re an incredible person and will you spend the rest of your life with me?’ And I, obviously, said yes,” Stark said.


Talia is a doctor at Mount Sinai Hospital and had been dating Aaron long distance. When he found out she was being reassigned to the COVID Intensive Care Unit, he immediately flew from Israel to the heart of the crisis to support her.

“To be able to run out and pick up groceries for her or to, you know, go and do her laundry and do all of these like small little things that, you know, so often we take for granted,” Lesser said.

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Shortly after arriving, Aaron began hatching a plan to propose. He hired a band, decorated her fire escape with flowers, and prepared champagne.

The hardest part, though, was convincing an exhausted Talia, who had been working 15-hours shifts, to look camera ready without tipping her off.

“She like starts walking up in her sweatpants and a T-shirt and I’m like … I literally just threw a dress at her. I’m like you don’t want to go outside like that,” Lesser said.

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The whole block soon joined in on the couple’s celebration, from the NYPD to complete strangers who helped shoot a video.

“The fact that he was able to bring so much joy during this challenging time, both for me and for everyone else, was just incredible,” Stark said.

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In the most imperfect times, it was the perfect engagement.