“You can cry, it’s okay,” the famed billionaire said.
On May 4, Warren Buffett took his fourth turn behind the Borsheims sales counter, and one man popped the question to his surprised girlfriend in front of Buffett and a crowd of onlookers.
The 83-year-old billionaire, whose Berkshire Hathaway holding company owns the Omaha, Neb., jeweler, sold for two hours during Berkshire’s annual shareholder weekend, says spokeswoman Adrienne Fay.
As can be seen in the video below, Berkshire shareholder Eric LaFante had told his girlfriend of six years he was buying a diamond necklace for her. However, LaFante, who prearranged things with Borsheims, was then handed an engagement ring by Buffett, who deemed it “something more interesting.” The 27-year-old then got down on one knee and proposed to the shocked woman, as a store full of onlookers and media watched and applauded. Later Buffett and Borsheims president and CEO Karen Goracke toasted the couple with champagne.
“Good things happen at Borsheims,” Buffett added, telling the woman, “You can cry, it’s okay.”
As the day went on, Buffett also sold diamond bracelets, earrings, watches, as well as diamonds inscribed with his autograph—often charging what he called “Crazy Warren” prices.
Fay says that the “Oracle of Omaha” himself first suggested the now-annual tradition four years ago.
“It was his idea,” she says. “He had been a salesperson early in his career, and we just thought this would be a great thing to add on to the weekend. We had no expectation he would do it for the second year—never mind four years.”
The other salespeople enjoy watching Buffett in action, she says.
“He is great as a salesman,” she says. “He is very charismatic. He is very social. He has a wonderful way of putting people at ease. It is not intimidating to buy from him. He is very approachable and very engaging, which are great salesperson traits.”
This year, the store also offered pendants and loose stones that were inscribed with Buffett’s autograph. The first group of 26 pendants sold out the first day; Buffett helped sell the final six loose stones.