The Unannounced Visitor

This is what happened when a man in uniform showed up to an all-girls school.

Two military college men walk into dance rehearsal…

It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but for Cody and Lizzie, it was the start of their relationship.

Cody was only supposed be accompanying his roommate on an excursion to try to find a date to their upcoming class ring event. But when they showed up to Lizzie’s campus, it became clear they weren’t supposed to be there.

It turns out the girl they thought they were meeting didn’t exist, and the two visitors stuck out like sore thumbs in their formal dress uniforms. But it wasn’t all bad news: Cody’s appearance at the all-girls school caught Lizzie’s eye, and she quickly found him on Instagram and reached out.

That happy accident ended up feeling like fate. Here’s their story. 

How’d you meet? 

Lizzie: I go to a private all girls school in Southern Virginia, and he goes to a military school an hour away. For a little backstory, I was part of a dance club at my school. We would practice dancing and then we’d meet up with these guys from the military school and dance together. 

I was overseeing one of our events, checking people in, and I looked out the window and saw two uniformed guys walking by. I remember seeing Cody and thinking Oh, he’s kind of cute. I wonder why they’re here. I had no idea there was supposed to be a joint event tonight. 

Cody: The story starts a little bit earlier on my side. It was early October and we had our class ring event coming up. It’s pretty much the most monumental event in our four years at the school outside of graduation. Everyone brings a date because there’s a very formal event that happens in late November.

And so my roommate’s parents invited me out to lunch with him to talk about the upcoming event, and during this lunch they told me that they were going to send my roommate to this all girls college an hour away from where we were so he could potentially meet a date. They asked me if I was interested in tagging along. I wasn’t really interested, but I thought I should be a good friend and not let him go alone. 

We had gone into town to look for suits to buy because we thought going in our uniforms would be a little showy. But then his parents called to tell us that the waltz event we were supposed to go to was actually that night! So we threw on our formal uniforms and drove over. 

But then we got to the school and walked to the room where it was supposed to be occurring, it was just a little den next to a laundry room. There were tons of people there dancing, some in less formal dresses, and Lizzie was sitting there in baggy sweats and stuff. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. 

What was your first impression? 

Cody: It’s hard to describe. I obviously thought she was very attractive, but it was more than that. I’ve never walked into a room and seen someone who made the rest of the room disappear. 

Lizzie: When he walked in, it was like the entire room faded away, which sounds so corny, but it really was exactly that. And his roommate was standing next to me asking me if I knew a girl he was looking for, and I didn’t even hear him because I was so focused on the fact that Cody was standing right there. The president of the club saw that they both had walked in and she escorted them outside. 

What happened next? 

Cody: I tried to explain the situation as best I could from my perspective when the group president asked us why we were there. I could tell there was an air of uncertainty in the room, nobody know who we were. When I gave the name of the girl his parents said they knew of, there was no record of her. Not even in the entire school!

So it was this crazy thing where we had no clue who his parents talked to or what they had set up. We were essentially two uniformed military college men who had shown up to an all-girls college school completely unannounced and walked into a waltz dance event and said ‘Hey, we’re here!’

We never ended up figuring out what happened. My roommate and I just left that night with his parents and they drove us back to our campus.

What happened next? 

Lizzie: A few days later I requested to follow him on Instagram and just sent him a message. 

Cody: I wanted to be a little bit more forward about the way I felt when I first saw her, but I thought it would have been a little bit presumptuous to ask for her number after crashing their party, so I just bit my tongue. 

For the next few days I was kicking myself for not having said anything. But then I received a follow request from her and she sent me a message saying “Hey, I’m sorry you didn’t find who you were looking for but it was nice to talk with you,” and she added a little smiley. It’s corny, but I’m pretty sure that I did. And we just struck up a conversation from there. 

What did you do on your first date? 

Lizzie: We did coffee and breakfast at a nice place in town, and then we did an escape room after that. He had a formation at the end of the day, but there was a football game going on and he said that if VMI won, it would be canceled.

Later that afternoon he texts me that it was canceled and asked if I wanted him to come back. So he drove back and we watched “The Princess Bride” at my friend’s apartment, and then he went back to school shortly after. It was like seven hours of driving altogether for him to come and hang out with me for a few hours!

Cody, are you happy you tagged along with your roommate? 

Cody: Absolutely. It feels like there’s so many small things that could have changed that would have led to us not meeting. I just had such a good feeling about it. 

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