Airport Strangers to Soulmates

How a delayed flight and a sleepover at a stranger's lead to marriage.

When you live on a small island, it can be easy to think you know everyone.

That’s why Monica was surprised to overhear a stranger mention her best friend during a flight delay in London. She was quick to insert herself when she heard this man incorrectly mention that her friend was from Australia instead of New Zealand, not realizing that her interruption would soon change both of their lives.

When the fog-related delay stretched into its second day, Monica found herself invited to the London home of her newfound travel companion’s aunt. When she and Will eventually did make their way back to Guernsey, they suddenly began bumping into each other all the time.

Those unintentional hangouts soon turned into intentional dates, and the pair have been inseparable ever since. Nearly 9 years removed from their fateful flight delay, Monica and Will are married parents of two daughters.

Here’s their story.

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How’d you meet?

Monica: It was the end of 2015. We both live on a tiny island off the coast of England called Guernsey, and we had both separately flown to London. When it was time to fly back, we were caught up in what ended up being a three-day fog delay. 

I coincidentally overheard Will talking about my best friend in Guernsey, and he was talking about her being Australian. And I was like “Mate, she’s from New Zealand.” And we just got chatting from there. 

Will: We’d arrived at the airport that night separately, and the fog had come in and the board was up saying all the flights were delayed or canceled. At the airport they said “Sorry guys, we’re gonna put you in a hotel overnight.” The next evening they canceled all the flights again and they said “Sorry guys, there are no hotels left in London. You’ll have to fend for yourselves.”

Monica: By this time I had actually spoken to my friend to make sure he wasn’t some total creep. Will’s aunt lives in London and he very kindly said I could stay at their place. He had told her I was his friend, which was a bit of a stretch. 

What was your first impression of Will?

Monica: Obviously I texted my friend and was like “This guy’s talking bout you, and he thinks you’re from Australia,” which she hates, being a Kiwi.  I remember thinking he had this really anxious, stressed expression on his face. But I mean, that kind of goes with the territory of being stuck in a fog delay. But when we got talking I realized he’s super easy to talk to. It sounds strange, but I felt safe having someone in that stressful situation to talk to and enjoy talking to.

What did you think of Monica?

Will: I remember telling Monica shortly afterward that I thought she looked incredibly put together. I did not feel like I had my shit together and she very much looked like she did. I was impressed. 

How was that first night you spent at Will’s aunt’s house?

Monica: His aunt is very traditional, she was very welcoming. She took us both out for dinner. It was really lovely, considering she never met me before. 

We actually sat next to each other on the plane on the way back. We were friends for maybe a month or so, and then things just developed. It wasn’t like we had this instant, romantic connection in that second, but it developed quite quickly. 

Will: I remember we didn’t stop talking. Or at least I didn’t stop talking. All I wanted was to continue this conversation with this amazing woman who I didn’t know if I was ever gonna see again. 

How long did it take you to start dating?

Monica: We kept bumping into each other. After having met that first time, we bumped into each other loads on the street completely coincidentally. And we texted a lot because we exchanged numbers during the fog situation. We went out platonically to watch some fireworks, but my friend saw us and texted me “Are you guys on a date?” And I told her “No no no.” 

But not long after that Will asked me around for dinner. He cooked me carbonara, which I don’t actually like but it was really kind of him and I pretended to really like it. He made us some apple pudding that was really good, too. He really went all out. 

How’d things grow from there?

Monica: It was really, really fast and very easy. We didn’t live very far from each other so we could slot anything in around work. We’d go on beach walks and stuff if we could find 20 minutes in a day or a few hours in a day. We’d meet up loads, it was really lovely. 

Will: We actually ended up moving in together about six months later. 

Monica: I was about to get thrown off the island because their citizenship laws changed while I was there. Will was like “We could give it a go.” And I said “May as well.” We’ve been together now for eight years, coming on nine. We've got two little girls now. We've been married since 2018. So yeah, it's worked out pretty well.

🤔 Poll

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📊 Last Week We Asked…

  • [poll] “Can you tell if someone is 'the one' the very first time you meet them?

    • 42% said “Yes, I believe in love at first sight/meet”

    • 25% said “Maybe, if the first impression is incredible”

    • 33% said “No, it takes time to truly know that”

And a few meet-cuters shared:

“I believe that love appears in many forms whether that is love at first sight or at a steady pace. It really does come down to if it feels right for you and the person you are with.”

“I think that there can be intense attraction and infatuation when you first meet someone, but true love and commitment take time ”

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