ANN ARBOR – It’s hard to forget Amber Brewer’s story.
She was the University of Michigan student who was assaulted two years ago at the Starbucks on State and Liberty when a man threw an oversized chair at her head.
The nature of the attack shocked the local community, but there was one silver lining, said Brewer.
She and the man she was on her second date with on that fateful night just got engaged.
“It’s actually kind of a crazy story,” said Brewer, who was sure things were going badly after a bit of an awkward dinner (she hated the place he chose).
The reason they ended up at Starbucks on Feb. 9, 2019 is because the movie they wanted to see at the State Theatre was full. They instead opted for a different movie showing at 10 p.m.
“We get our tickets and it’s probably 9 p.m. at this point so we walk over to the State and Liberty Starbucks,” said Brewer.
She recalled it was pouring rain and cold outside so they thought it would be a good place to stay warm.
“We sat down, we didn’t buy anything, and we were talking and I don’t even know what had happened to prompt the man who threw the chair at my head,” she said. “It was probably 10 minutes into a totally normal conversation. I look over and I see this man get up, perfectly normal, didn’t think anything about it, at no point did I ever feel in danger for any reason.
“This man started walking over to us, and I thought maybe I dropped something. But I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw that he grabbed the chair behind him. Myles was in front of me -- he was facing me -- but the man was behind him. He grabbed one of the super big heavy chairs -- that they actually replaced after this happened -- picked it up and he threw it and that’s the very last thing I remember before it actually hit me.”
Brewer said she was thankful Myles ducked, because had he been hit she fears it would have been much worse.
“I ducked so it only scraped the top back of my head,” said Brewer. “I’m laying there right after this happened. Everybody’s in total shock. I remember it feeling like I had pins and needles in my hands and legs and it went totally black. I thought I was dead. Eventually, I could move my fingers and toes and it took a minute to sit back up.”
She remembers that one of the baristas asked the man to leave, and a swarm of people suddenly surrounded her. Brewer had just turned 18 and noticed a girl her age staring at her in horror.
“I look behind me and asked her: ‘Are you okay?’ And she said, ‘You’re bleeding.’”
Brewer reached to feel the back of her head and said her hand was covered in blood. She remembers staying calm but that Myles was panicked.
“Myles was freaking out because his date had gotten a chair thrown at her head,” she said.
While they waited for an ambulance to arrive, a nurse tended to the two-inch gash on her head.
After the ambulance arrived, Brewer insisted she was well enough to drive to the hospital with Myles.
“It was a total mess,” she said. “Right in front of the Starbucks -- with gauze all over my head, and bleeding all over -- we had our first kiss. I was laughing at that point.”
Myles was fielding calls from Brewer’s mother, who was frantic and called her older daughter to drive up to Ann Arbor from Toledo to pick Amber up from the hospital.
Brewer remembers being treated like a spectacle in the Emergency Department at University of Michigan Hospital.
“Residents kept coming through, saying, ‘Is that the girl who got hit with the chair?’” she recalled. “I got seven staples in my head.”
One week after the incident, Brewer told Myles on their third date that she was sure he wasn’t interested in her after everything that happened.
“I would have been interested in you whether or not you got a chair thrown at your head,” he replied.
“We went from date number two to date number 200 on date three,” said Brewer. “I’m so lucky to have him. My sister passed away last year from COVID, and he’s been there for me. He was driving me from Ann Arbor to Toledo from Nov. to Dec. He’s been through so much with me.”
That’s why when Myles asked her to marry him six months ago, it was a no-brainer, she said.
However, the official proposal happened this past weekend on Bois Blanc Island -- Myles had waited to propose with a ring they designed together at Austin & Warburton in Ann Arbor.
The sapphire and moissanite ring is an ode to their mutual love of chemistry. And, ever so fittingly, it has a small chair engraved onto it to remind them of where their relationship started.
“We have it hidden on the bottom of the ring so whenever I open my palm, I see it.”
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