Last week I got an email out of the blue from a reader describing how she met the man who will be her husband on the "platform of love." Unlike some of us, she says when she thinks of the CTA .... "It's ALL LOVE!!"
This is her story in her own words:
I remember it like yesterday... I was heading out of the CBOE after a long day at work looking forward to catching the Red Line train to 55th. This was my normal weekday routine. However, on Sept. 17, 1997, a few of my co-workers decided to hang out after work. They insisted that I catch the Green Line train instead of the Red Line.
Now as for proximity and convenience, the Green Line offered me none. To complicate matters even more, my riding the Green Line required me to walk a mile to Randolph and Wabash. I'm not sure why but that was their plan.
Did I also mention that I was afraid of heights? I knew the Green Line was primarily elevated and the thought of that was discouraging. Even today in my current position, when I travel for business, I prefer to drive rather than fly.
Nonetheless, as convincing as they were despite my preference, I agreed to their request.
When we approached the platform at Randolph and Wabash, there was a gentleman working behind the ticket-booth. I hadn't yet seen his face because I was distracted by his lunch. I asked him where he had gotten his meal... I mean it looked and smelled so delicious.
He said bought his lunch from a nearby restaurant "Soul By the Pound". He also provided the restaurant's location. But I couldn't seem take my eyes off his plate (I was perhaps a size 2 at the time, but a foodie indeed). I remember my response was "That looks so good!"
Now for the love story....
When I moved past the plate of food and looked up at the gentleman working behind the booth, my immediate thoughts were "Wow... you look good too!" What I failed to realize until he smiled is that I had vocalized my thoughts.
In just that instance I had completely transformed our discussion. Since I let the cat out of the bag, I decided to go all in. So I asked if he had a girlfriend. When he replied "no," I asked for his phone number.
Keep in mind that I am still with two co-workers. The gentleman, Andre, gave me his phone number and we proceeded past the gates to await our Green Line train. Let's just say that was one ride that wasn't as scary. My mind was preoccupied with my recent encounter.
To hang out we went to the home of my co-worker (now best friend). When I arrived I wanted to know if Andre gave me his correct phone number. When I called, I had to enter a return number. After waiting about 10 minutes, her phone rang. My friend answered, handed me the phone saying, "This is for you"! When I said answered, he replied, "What's up baby?"
To this day I tell everyone that he had me at "baby"!!
To make a long story short, Andre and I had become friends. We lost contact for about two years (1998-2000). We reconnected through an encounter with my cousin. She informed me that she saw Andre downtown and had given him my new number.
That was in November of 2000, and we have been together ever since.
This year, Andre proposed to me. The morning following the proposal, Andre and I visited Randolph and Wabash station for the first time together since meeting. As a bit of history... Andre shared that the dark area on the floor of one of the photos is the remnant of the pay phone that he used to call me back the day we met. "I love that!!"
We are planning to wed on what would be our 19-year anniversary of meeting - Sept. 17, 2016.
I truly love this man of mine, my fiancé. Andre told me that the day he met was actually his off day. He had placed himself on the extra board and worked that station only because an employee called off. Andre said he normally worked at the Harlem and Lake stations.
Also, for me, It was not my normal routine to catch the Green Line train. That day, all the stars lined up perfectly for love.
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