MILLINGTON, Tenn. — A touching gesture from a Mid-South bride-to-be is getting international attention.
Nichole Sullivan wanted to include her fiance’s sister – who has a severe brain injury – in their upcoming wedding, so she found a fun way to ask her and captured the moment on camera.
But it’s the reaction she got that’s capturing hearts across the globe.
The video, shot by Nichole’s fiance, Derrick Torres, and posted to YouTube, has made its way to Inside Edition and the UK’s The Daily Mail.
In it, the bride-to-be hands Derrick’s mother, Lenore Torres, a card to read to her future sister-in-law, Jessie Torres.
It reads, “Soon you will be my sister. Until then, will you be my bridesmaid?”
Lenore can’t hold back her tears as she reads it aloud.
“Emotions were more than I expected,” said Nichole.
Later in the video, Nichole asks Jessie, “Will you be my bridesmaid?”
Jessie hasn’t been the same since a car accident on a first date in 2011 left her with a traumatic brain injury – unable to walk, talk or even communicate.
“The first two years, she was pretty much unresponsive,” said Derrick. “She pretty much just had a blank stare. You looked at her, she didn’t look back at you. It was hard to tell if she even understood her surroundings.”
But lately, Jessie’s family says she’s been slowly making progress, following people with her eyes, smiling and even laughing.
You can see it in the video as Jessie’s face lights up when she’s asked that question.
“She’s staring at me and she’s just beaming, smiling,” said Nichole. “She wouldn’t stop staring at me the whole night while we were still standing there – she just kept staring and you could tell she was happy about it.”
Jessie lives with her parents, where she gets around-the-clock care.
Her brother admits it hasn’t been an easy road.
“We try as much as we can to just include her in everyday life and not just leave her at home,” Derrick said. “And that’s really important to us and it’s a struggle to do that, so anytime we can include her and take her out and get her out of the house, that’s great for us.”
For Nichole, there was never any question about her future sister-in-law’s role in their big day.
“When it comes to big things like that, they get left out,” she said. “And I didn’t want her to be left out of anything in our lives.”
Further solidifying Derrick’s decision to get down on one knee.
“It just helps prove that I’ve got the right one,” he said. “She’s incredible and she’s been absolutely supportive since day one, and that’s very important for our family.”
Nichole says she wants Jessie involved in their big day, just like any other bridesmaid.
“Go through all the hair and the makeup and go down the aisle together,” she said. “I want her to be part of all that.”
The wedding is set for November 18.
(Engagement photos courtesy: Christy Keane Photography)