Love made the pinball go ’round

While thousands of Christmas shoppers wandered Willow Grove Park mall pondering their Christmas lists, Pam Metzger faced a bigger question — will you marry me?

Her boyfriend Todd Tuckey rigged a video game at Challenges Amusement Center last week to pop the question automatically. Metzger said “yes.”

“I was nervous,” admitted Tuckey who owns TNT Amusements, a pinball machine dealership in Southampton. Tuckey had to land the pinball in a certain slot before the machine would ask the question.

The engagement ring was tucked into the coin return. Tuckey smiled as he slipped the ring on his fiancé’s finger and gave her a kiss. Television camera crews no longer pretended to hide their interest and the diamond shown in the spotlight. “Nice ring,” shouted an onlooker. “Yeah,” said Tuckey. “Expensive too. It will take a lot of quarters to pay for it so I’ll have to sell a lot of pinball games.”

Tuckey said he thought the unique marriage proposal would be fun. He told Metzger, a Huntingdon Valley resident who tutors and works as a bank teller, that they were simply going to test the machine.

He then conspired with her mother to arrange that all her scheduled tutorials be canceled. “I was driving over, hoping everything would work right,” he said.

His technicians, Howard Poland and Curt Cesari had arrived early to double-check the machine. Challenges owner Allan Bruck was also in on the surprise, although he was not present for the proposal. Poland and Cesari guarded the hidden ring. A sign on the game said “Sorry Out of Order Please Try Another Game.”

Metzger said she was a bit suspicious when she noticed the television cameras. Tuckey assured her that they were there for something else.

In fact, according to Challenges manager Chris Schwartz, the news reporters who had assembled to cover the event were told that “if anyone asks, you’re doing a piece about the violence in video games.” On this occasion, however, it was love that made the pinball go ’round.

The couple has planned a small wedding ceremony at Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia to be held next May, according to Tuckey.

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