“The Crazy Way I Found Love”

Can sad, bad, and annoying circumstances bring folks together? You bet… as these daters found out! Listen to their stories.

By Christine M. Coppa

Taming the wild child
“I was early to pick my son up from yet another Saturday detention. It was sunny out, so I plopped on the hood of my car with my coffee and US Weekly. That’s when I overheard Garrett on his cell phone: ‘She got caught smoking in the bathroom—again!’ When he hung up I couldn’t help myself and I said: ‘Mine too, but he was caught with beer on the football field after a game.’ Garrett came over
Love at the pet cemetery? It’s happened!
and we talked about our unruly teens, and about our glory days, too—hard to be mad at our kids when we were guilty of similar behavior at their age. When we noticed a string of kids flooding the main gate, Garrett turned to me and said: ‘I think we both could use a drink of our own!’ We met up that weekend at a wine bar and talked about our high-school days. So, it was definitely even harder to reprimand my son—he scored me a great date!”
—Carrie Rillo, 42, Amherst, OH

Love at the pet cemetery?
“Every now and again when I’m in the neighborhood and feeling particularly stressed out, I stop at the pet cemetery by my cat Patty’s grave. It’s one of those things that makes me feel good—instantly. This one time, I noticed her little stone was covered in mud and since I didn’t have a shovel or gloves, I used my foot to scrape away the dirt the best I could. Paul approached with a watering can and paper towels — he’d just buried his dog — and helped me to clean the grave. To thank him and also console him, I took him around the corner for a coffee. Three years later, we’re married—with a new cat and dog. A baby is next.”
—Jolene Van Meyer, 31, Pompton Lakes, NJ

Dieter’s delight
“The weight-loss center in my ’hood is somewhere I like to go solo. I wear sweats and a baseball cap low over my brow. I’m not embarrassed, I’m just working through the last stubborn 10 pounds on my own. As I waited for a weigh-in, I heard this guy behind me joking he felt like cattle getting weighed before the big slaughter. I pretended not to hear him, but he started making mooing noises! I burst out laughing and that’s when he approached me and said, ‘Come here often? Or only when your bathroom scale is MIA?’ After the meeting we went to an organic café and had a late lunch—salads and green tea. It was tasteless, but he was a delight!”
—Jill Spicer, 32, New York City

Hit-and-run romance
“Crash, crunch, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep, was all I heard before the airbags ballooned. Next thing I knew, a handsome young cop was knocking on the window, yelling, “Are you okay?” The
Who knew that engine trouble could lead to marriage…
car that hit me fled. The officer, Rich, helped me out and began to take a report, but that’s when I felt incredibly woozy. He called an ambulance and said he could finish the report later and he needed my number to do so. I fumbled for my card. Twenty minutes later, I was sitting in an overcrowded ER with an ice pack resting on my collarbone when Rich walked in. He actually sat with me for an hour, got me water and kept me company. When I heard my name called to see a doctor, we hadn’t even finished the report. ‘No problem,’ he said, ‘Tomorrow.’ I went to station the next day, and we finished the report… and we also had dinner that very night!”
—Simone Steer, 34, Berne, IN

The upside of unemployment
“After I got laid off, I found myself at an overwhelmingly huge job fair. I didn’t want to be there, but after sending a million resumes out and getting no bites, I figured I better go! I collected packet after packet and shook a lot of hands—one in particular. He was an HR director for a pharmaceutical company and I don’t even know why I wandered over to his table. My background is a mix of fashion and editorial. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job, but I got the guy. We’ve been dating for seven months and counting, and, hey, I even found a job!”
—Renee Masters, 26, New York City

Train trouble
I decided to pay a surprise visit to my family in New York City—I hadn’t seen them much since I took a job on Capitol Hill. I bought a train ticket and planned on sleeping the five-hour ride away. Well, about 45 minutes into the ride, I noticed how warm the car had become. Moments later, it smelled like burnt rubber and screech—the train crawled to a standstill. Engine trouble. Great. After a half hour of no movement, I made my way to the café car for a beer and managed to score a cold one. A cute girl tried to get one as well, but apparently they’d just sold out. I offered her mine—and refused when she offered to pay for it. Turns out we went to rival high schools and both now worked in D.C. Hours and hours later when the trained chugged in to New York City, we exchanged numbers. We had our first date that weekend… and now we’re engaged. Sometimes engine trouble has a silver lining.
—Christian Davids, 26, Long Island, NY

Christine M. Coppa is a contributing columnist on (
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