Serendipity is a propensity for making fortunate discoveries while looking for something unrelated.
Three years ago today I was taking a seat on a return flight from Florida to Austin when I looked up and noticed a guy searching for his seat. As I start to buckle up I hear a sarcastic “So you think you’re getting comfortable there, huh?” I smiled and rose from my aisle seat so the fellow passenger could take his assigned seat near the window. We introduce ourselves. He was coming from Sarasota and I from Panama City Beach, both returning to Austin after Thanksgiving weekend with our families. We proceeded to discuss the books we had in hand, “Eats Shoots and Leaves” and “Atlas Shrugged”. I’m not sure what happened thereafter but minutes later he suggests I take the middle seat because someone will likely be seated between us. I declined, saying we should be fine. It didn’t look like a full flight.
We continue conversing and he insists I move over. I bargained with him and said I would move over if there happened to be another person sitting in our row. Sure enough a man comes along claiming the middle seat that would separate us. I offer my aisle seat and he happily accepts. For the next twenty-something minutes of the short flight we talk about work, ourselves, and our families. Our plane began its initial descend when he asks me to join him and a few buddies for dinner two nights later. I had to decline as I had a standing date with my girlfriends at the time. The following night I get a call asking if my plans with the girlfriends had changed and if I was free for dinner. I was not able.
It was another week and a half before I was finally able to meet him for sushi. At the risk of seeming cliche and borderline cheesy I remember there being a point early on during dinner when everything stopped for just one second and I realized there was something amazing about this guy. So I was happy when he asked if we could go see a movie afterward. As the saying goes, “The rest is history”.
I’m not sure where I’d be now if one of us took our seat five minutes later or if I was assigned a seat in different row. I guess I’ll never know. I’m just fortunate of the good luck and chance that brought us together. I would have never imagined three years later we would be flying together after Thanksgiving and our cousins’ wedding in Atlanta. As some sort of homage to my previous service..he took the middle seat. The only person that got in between us this time was our daughter!