By MEGAN WYATT, The Advertiser
LAFAYETTE, Ala. (AP) — For the past few weeks, Zach Doell has picked up his girlfriend from school each day in a new embarrassing and entertaining way.
He’s arrived on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus in everything from a makeshift Batmobile and ice cream truck to a “Jersey Shore” taxi cab to the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile.
“I will never be able to top the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile,” Doell said with a laugh. “I don’t know if I should retire because there’s no way I can top it, but then again, I graduate in May so I only have this week of school left.”
Brianna Garcia, who is a bit more reserved than her prankster boyfriend, has played along — rolling her eyes as she captured the experience via Snapchat.
“It was funny at first,” Garcia said. “But it kind of became embarrassing because all my friends would get out of class at the same time as me and see it too.”
Doell took that embarrassment to a whole new level April 23 when he shared a compilation of their Snapchat videos to Facebook and the couple became an instant internet sensation.
Within hours, they were on KATC’s 10 p.m. news broadcast and Hot 107.9’s morning show.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show could be next.
“We’re trying to get on,” Doell said. “We’ve got connections.”
But why did Doell start picking up Garcia in such creative ways in the first place?
“I love to see her laugh and make her smile,” Doell said. “So I would just beep the horn excessively and yell her name.”
A few weeks ago, an over-sized sombrero in his apartment caught his eye.
“She’s half Spanish, and I thought it’d be funny if I wore it and did a Spanish accent,” Doell said.
That simple prank was Garcia’s favorite of the bunch.
“When he yelled, ‘El Papi is here,’ I died,” she said.
Doell didn’t intend to continue, but his pranks became a bright spot for UL students and his Snapchat followers.
“People kept begging me to keep doing it and posting the videos,” he said. “They told me they looked forward to it every day.”
Doell stepped it up each time.
He began by dressing up and transforming his own car into themed vehicles. He took a taxi cab to re-enact scenes from MTV’s “Jersey Shore.” He dressed up as a slice of pizza and borrowed the DeanO’s vehicle from his employer.
But the ultimate opportunity presented itself last week.
Doell had planned to dress up as an NFL referee, but when he went to Albertson’s to buy a whistle, he spotted the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile in the parking lot.
After purchasing a whistle, Doell had an internal debate as to whether or not he should approach the women working at the weinermobile.
“I thought it would be awesome, but that there was no way it would happen,” Doell said. “But then I thought, ‘If I don’t act now, I’ll regret it.'”
Hotdoggers (yes, that’s seriously what they’re called) Elise Johnson and Jackie Corte loved the idea.
And Doell rolled onto campus in the weinermobile on April 26 to pick up Garcia.
“Everybody loved it,” she said. “It was embarrassing, but I loved it too.”
After months of embarrassing moments on campus, Garcia finally got back at her boyfriend.
She collaborated with Hot 107.9 so she could embarrass Doell.
“We actually went go pick him up in the radio van and laid on the horn,” Garcia said. “That was my revenge on him. He had no idea it was happening.”
Doell’s fear turned to awe when he realized what was happening.
“At first I was scared,” he said. “I had no idea who was honking. Usually, I’m the one who’s doing it. But then I was so impressed with her. That was the last thing I expected.”
Doell, 23, and Garcia, 21, have been dating for just a few months.
They met in November at Legends downtown and started dating on New Year’s Eve.
He’s wrapping up his degree in dietetics this semester. She’s a junior studying nursing.
Doell and Garcia have found a lot in common in a short period of time.
They’re both from the New Orleans area and both work at Lafayette restaurants: he’s a server at DeanO’s South, and she’s a hostess at Louisiana Crawfish Time.
“I like that both of us work at local restaurants,” Doell said. “We love Lafayette so much.”