Is 'Bachelorette' falling for Bartlett man?
As the recipient of three roses, Chris Bukowski of Bartlett seems like he is well on his way to winning over the heart of ABC's newest "Bachelorette."
The 25-year-old is competing against more than two dozen other bachelors in the reality TV show's eighth season for a chance at love with Emily Maynard, a 26-year-old single mom from North Carolina. Bachelors getting a rose return the following week.
Bukowski's co-workers say he left his job as a sales manager for the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates around March to be on the show, and a close friend said Bukowski thought it was a good opportunity, even though he didn't know who the bachelorette would be.
"We definitely fully support him and wish him the best of luck," said co-worker Erin Bilton, director of marketing at the Sears Centre.
Bilton called Bukowski very ambitious, outgoing and personal, and said he was a great person to work with. Each week she and his other co-workers have a good laugh about what he did on Monday's show.
"Every Tuesday morning, it's the first thing we talk about around the water cooler," Bilton said, adding that they find footage of him dancing especially funny. "It's pretty entertaining."
Georgieann Michels, marketing coordinator for the Sears Centre, said she liked watching the couple dance when country singer Luke Bryan performed on the show this past Monday.
"I know he's a big country music fan so I know he enjoyed that," Michels said. "She definitely seems to be pretty interested in him, and we tend to joke about that," she added.
Maynard has said numerous times that she thinks Bukowski is very attractive. She was a participant on "The Bachelor" two seasons ago and was proposed to in the final episode by Brad Womack, but the relationship quickly fell apart.
Bukowski's family declined to speak to the media, citing Bukowski's contractual obligations as a contestant, but longtime friend Jason Shoufer described Bukowski as very confident "in a good way" and very family-oriented.
"When he got out of the limo and met Emily, what he said to Emily I thought was very genuine," Shoufer said, referring to a moment when Bukowski told Maynard he asked his dad for advice before going on the show and was told to follow his heart.
Shoufer said he didn't know much about Bukowski's previous girlfriends, just that he thought he had a "good, long relationship" while attending Bartlett High School, where he also played basketball and baseball. Prior to high school, Bukowski attended St. Isidore in Bloomingdale. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2009 and moved to New York soon after, where he worked for the New York Islanders. Last fall he joined the Sears Centre team.
In the first episode, Bukowski presented Maynard with two bobbleheads, one of him and one of Maynard. While some fans may think that was weird, Shoufer said he thinks it was an idea that stemmed from Bukowski's marketing background.
"So far from what I've seen she (Maynard) seems very smitten by him," Shoufer said with a laugh, adding that he is confident Bukowski will make it to the last few episodes. Entertainment websites such as wetpaint.com are spreading rumors that Bukowski makes it to the final four.
The "Bachelorette" airs at 7 p.m. Monday on ABC. Fans can follow Bukowski's journey on the "Bachelorette" via a "Team Chris" Facebook page and on Twitter at @ChrisJBukowski.