Brought Together By Social Distancing

How Kind Strangers' Desire to Volunteer Led to a Beautiful Love Story

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As Covid tore through the country in 2020, there were countless stories of social-distancing safety protocols keeping people apart. But in the case of this week’s featured couple, this is precisely what brought them together.

California residents Megan and Rick met when they volunteered at their local polling place during the 2020 election. The pair, who didn’t know each other beforehand, separately decided to work the election for the same reason: to help people for whom possible Covid exposures would be more dangerous.

And though working the polls isn’t known as the most fun or glamorous job, Megan and Rick were surprised to find themselves loving every second of it. The couple now lives together, and have plans for many more Election Days to come. Here’s their story.

How did you two meet?

Megan: We both signed up to be poll workers during the 2020 presidential election. We both wanted to be involved [in the election] in some way, and it was also COVID time. In the past, my little neighborhood polling place was run by people in their 80s, and I was worried about them.

Brian: I’d seen a news item saying the usual people who volunteer for this sort of stuff tend to be retired people and older people. [Election officials] were concerned that they’d be worried about catching COVID or being exposed, so they were looking for other people to step up.

Because of COVID, what they were trying to do was actually keep most people out of the polling place and just have them drop off their mail-in ballots. So they needed people outside of the polling place to collect those ballots.

In California, polling locations are open for four days. Megan and Brian also had two days of training before voting started, and spent time together setting up the polling place.

Megan: It was basically sunup to sundown, four days in a row and even longer on actual election day. The woman who managed the polling place basically said “You guys are both very friendly, I figured I’d put you on site to greet everybody.”

I didn’t want to be outside. I didn’t want to be with this man for four days. I was like “there were some really interesting women that I had met during the setup process and the training process who I could be friends with. We could have fun inside.”

But by halfway through the first day I was having the time of my life. It should have been hard work, and boring, and instead I was having so much fun. Even after a 12 hour day, I couldn’t wait to get back up and go back the next day to be around him.

How’d you go from poll center coworkers to dating?

Brian: At the end of the whole thing, when polling was finished, we went to pack up everything. I suggested we all go for lunch or a drink, but really I just wanted to make sure I could still talk to Megan. Only seven or eight of us went, but it was an attempt to continue the conversation.

Megan: Neither of us was looking for a relationship. We were both in other relationships when we met. So I wasn't even thinking that. I just wanted to be around him. I knew that after four days of being with him so much and having so much fun, I couldn't not know him. However that was going to be, I wanted him in my life in some way.

The two continued to text for several months, and eventually both ended their previous relationships. Soon after, Brian invited Megan over for dinner.

Brian: I wasn’t absolutely sure that it was a date. Because we were initially just kind of really great pals. But it became apparent rapidly that it was a date.

What do you think it is about the two of you that drew you to one another?

Brian: I really loved Megan’s joy for life. She is a very kind person. She sees the best in everyone and wants to help everybody and make things good and happy.

Megan: He has an attitude of friendliness and happiness and curiosity. Brian is the most curious person I’ve ever met. I loved that he was very high energy and wanted to chat all the time and have a laugh.

Brian: That particular job or activity is not the sexiest work. It’s hard work, standing there all day long. There were folks there who were definitely not enjoying it. Neither of us were like that.

Megan: This was something I signed up to do, because I thought it would be a good duty that I could take on. And instead I was racing back every morning to have another fun conversation with Brian.

Would you volunteer on election day again? Would you recommend it to others?

Megan: I would, totally. It would be fun to do it together.

Brian: I would recommend it to anyone. It was a more positive experience than I expected.

Megan: You might as well volunteer. You might change your whole life!

“There are some people in life that make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger, and live just a little bit better."


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📊 Last Week We Asked…

Would you give someone a second chance if they made a bad first impression?

  • 85% said “Yes, I’d be open to it.”

  • 15% said “No, I make up my mind quickly”

And one meet-cuter shared: “I think it's a dangerous thing to let an assumption or impression you have of someone let that be all you see. There are numerous contextual factors as to why that person behaved or maybe acted in that way if you thought they were weird or strange. Sometimes people are socially awkward or really shy and tend to get overstimulated. What I'm trying to say is, a first impression shouldn't be a lasting impression, and to always be curious not judgmental about meeting people.”

Interviewed and transcribed by Nicolas Vega. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.