Document 156947

“Did You Find Love On SEPTA?”
Contest Winners
Did you find love on SEPTA? Did you meet a new love while
riding on a bus or re-connect with a lost love while traveling on a
train? These couples did. Read their stories.
Page Number
Tiara & Jason ~ Wind Blocker
Kate & David ~ Baby You Can Drive My Bus
Michael & Tracy ~ Love on the R7
Althea & Lawrence ~ Something Left behind
Ruth & Logan ~ Cezanne Drove Them to It
Colleen & Danny ~ “I Have a Boyfriend” Line
Christopher & Theresa ~ Love on a $10 Bet
Jennifer & Jason ~ Metro and More Conversation
Terri & Joe ~ Paratransit Matchmaker
Bernetta & Michael ~ A Balloon and a Footlocker Bag
Whitney & Sonny ~ Rusty Old Bench
Jared & Gabrielle ~ Say Hi
Hillary & Charlie ~ Scary Train Man
Kristin & Don ~ Late Love Train
14 -15
Tiara & Jason ~ Wind Blocker
It was a cold night in December. Waiting for the 15 trolley has never been colder, just moved back to Philly three
days ago, and the freezing wind snuck up on my neck to welcome me home. But, the Coolness of the weather was
no match for the coolness of his demeanor. Out my peripheral vision I spotted a tall, chocolate, handsome man. He
stood about 6’2, athletic build and seemingly unbothered by the freezing temperature and wind chill. So I thought to
myself ….. Perfect!
Me: excuse me
Him: Yes
Me: Can you stand right here
Him: What!?!!!?!”
Me: Can u be my wind Blocker?, its freeeezing out here! The wind has been lurking from around the corner taking
cheap shots @ me ! ...Jabs and right hooks!
He laughed, and revealed a set of perfectly straight pearly white teeth that melted the first layer of my frost bitten
Him: Does this job pay hourly or salary … I just got off work….don’t recall signing up for second shift. He jokingly
I told him it was nothing wrong with putting in a little overtime! We both smiled.
He stood in front of me to block the cold and wind. As our conversation heated up, so did I. Warmed by his body
heat, distracted by good conversation, we were lost in smiles, and laughter, and no else around existed. Initially, I
just wanted body heat but wow! What a body, I always did have good taste.
The trolley came, and like a gentleman he offered his hand to assist me onto the transit. I took a seat on the first half
of the car, expecting to continue the jovial conversation with my “wind” body guard. However, out my side view, I
saw him walk straight pass me to sit alone onto the rear end of the trolley! The NERVE!!! I’m a beautiful woman,….
of this I am certain. Therefore, he must be Gay!! Either that or he is in a relationship and is trying do right by his
woman. What a lucky woman if so. Oh well,.. I thought. I tried to distract myself with the scenery of nightlife passing
on the exterior of my window seat. But for some reason couldn’t get my mind off him. Suddenly I felt a large image
consume the seat beside me. I turned my head and there he was, with a smile so enticing, it provoked mine in
return. He smirked and said,
Him: I’d be an idiot to let you go and take the chance of never seeing you again
I nodded in agreement
Me: so what can I do for you love?
He took a deep sigh, and stated
Him: Let me put in some more overtime?!!?
We both laughed and got lost in our own little world again. Warmed by the sincerity in his eyes, intrigued by good
conversation …………. That’s the beginning of our love story
….and it started on Septa…..
Go Septa!
Kate & David ~ Baby You Can Drive My Bus
I had been riding SEPTA for decades as part of my daily commute to
work in Center City. Over the years, I have used the regional rail lines;
the Norristown Hi-Speed Line; subways; trolleys and buses. In doing so
I have met many interesting people, befriended some and fell in love
with one.
It was the spring of 2004. I would drive to Gulph Mills Station to catch a
bus, the 124 or 125, to Center City. There was one driver on the 124 that
was always very professional, courteous and an excellent driver. I would
usually catch his bus a couple times a week (when I could get there on
time) and we would exchange pleasantries. One day in early June I
boarded his bus and took a seat towards the back. When my "bus
buddy" Charlotte sat down next to me, I said, "He's really handsome, is
he married?" He wasn't. (Charlotte knew this because she had known
this driver for years and she herself was friendly with him. His name was
David Viglione).
At some point, unbeknownst to me, Charlotte told David that I had
expressed an interest in him. Later in the week, when I stepped off the
bus, he asked me when he would see my again. I told him now that
summer was coming I would probably be taking an earlier bus and
perhaps I would see him on his first run out. When he told me that it
was 6 something in the a.m., I said, "Forget it, I'm still hitting the
snooze button!"
Kate & David ~ Baby You Can Drive My Bus – Cont.
I walked into work wondering how the heck I was ever going to get a chance to really meet
my bus driver. I needn't worry. Charlotte's stop was after mine, so after I departed the
bus that fateful morning, she told David which car belonged to me. When I got back to the
parking lot that night, I found the a note on my car.
To the prettiest woman that rides my bus:
I kinda got shy on you this morning. I was
going to ask your name and phone
number. I get shy when I meet an attractive
woman at times. “Sorry.”
Anyways, this is my cell number 610---I would love to sit down and talk to you. I
am very interested in learning more about
you! Sorry for this note, but I at least want
you to have my cell number today. Maybe
we can talk this weekend sometime.
I called David that same weekend and we hit it off immediately. The rest is history. We
have been together ever since and are engaged to be married. Now I walk around my office
singing, "Baby, you can drive my bus. Yes, I'm gonna a star. Baby, you can drive my bus
and baby I looooove you, beep beep & beep beep, yeah!!!"
MICHAEL & TRACY ~ Love on the R7
Ever since we started dating, my husband and I have been known to friends as “the
couple that met on the train.”
Let’s start from the beginning…Michael Nyszczot and Tracy Tomchik grew up in the
Philadelphia area, in neighborhoods just a train stop away from each other. They
attended nearby high schools, took part in similar area activities, and had the same
hangouts – but never met. Then they went off to different colleges. After graduation,
both returned home, started their careers and commuted to work in Center City
Philadelphia, via the Regional Rail R7, while they waited to meet that special
someone. No one would think to put these two together…Michael is an Actuary - a
numbers guy, a real straight shooter; Tracy is in Non-Profit Public Relations and is an
artsy talker. For months, they rode the SEPTA R7 Train - getting off and on at
home, one stop away from each other, with varying schedules. They shared Suburban
Station in Center City; but since they worked on opposite sides of Billy Penn, their
paths had never crossed. Until one summer day… Destiny struck as Michael walked
onto the same home-bound R7 train car where Tracy had just taken a seat. He caught
Tracy’s eye as he smiled and…kept walking. ‘I wish I could meet a guy like that,’ she
thought to herself while awaiting her stop. To Tracy’s surprise, Michael exited the
train a stop before hers. As he passed by, consciously not looking her way, she
wondered where she could meet a guy like that and thought about her usual
hangouts: ‘There is no way a girl meets a guy like that at the local pub’s happy hour
where the rest of the poor fresh college grads hang out.’
About a week after seeing him on the train, Tracy went to the local pub to enjoy a
happy hour with some girl friends. To her surprise, the handsome man that she had
deemed “train boy” was standing at the bar. It was as if Journey’s song, Don’t Stop
Believing, was the sound track as Tracy walked up to the bar next to Michael, turned
to him and said, “Oh, I think you are on my train.” They talked for a couple minutes
about their stations and where they worked, but then Michael’s friends were leaving,
so they said their goodbyes.
Photo Credit: Devon John Photography
MICHAEL & TRACY ~ Love on the R7 – Cont.
Disappointed, but elated to have met him, Tracy stayed another hour before
heading to another favorite local hangout. As she and her friends joked about “train
boy” while walking from the parking lot, Michael and his friends were now walking
out of that same place. “Hey look, it’s train boy/girl” they both said. Again they
talked a bit. Neither wanted to seem too eager, so they exchanged, “say hi to me on
the R7” sentiments and then went on their way – not to cross paths again for about
another month. The thought of actually meeting someone on public transportation
seemed like a silly idea to both of them, but they thought about each other, keeping
an eye out on the train. After a month of long work days, off schedules and solo
train rides, Michael and Tracy ran into each other again at their favorite local pub.
This time, they talked for hours, exchanged numbers and decided to get together
one day after work. Soon, they were inseparable with a great story to tell of how
they met... Tracy’s friends still called Michael “train boy” for a while, and “Michael
R7” was dubbed in Tracy’s cell phone (and still is to this day).
To keep the enchanting train theme going, the couple had engagement pictures
taken on the Cornwells Heights platform, next to and on the R7 Train, and various
favorite spots in Center City. They then used these photos for their Save the Date
magnets and later for the reception. A poster directed guests to find their seats by
the station stops on the R7. Each table then had a purple picture frame with the
names of each R7 Station and photos of the couple in various stations and the R7.
Photo Credit: Devon John Photography
Michael and Tracy are happily married and live in the Philadelphia area, not far from
their fateful R7 line. They hope to start a family in the next couple years after they
have traveled (by train whenever possible!) They often tell the story of how they
met. But Tracy isn’t the only on in the Tomchik Family to have met Cupid in
Transit. Tracy’s parents met working in college as toll collectors on the PA
Turnpike, while her brother and his wife met while working at the AC Airport. The
Tomchiks call themselves the “Trains, Planes and Automobiles Family!”
Althea & Lawrence ~ Something Left Behind
I didn't realize it then, in the early 70's, but I was having a hard time trying to be
strong, working, raising children and hoping to some day have a serious love
life, someone to be there for me that I could count on. It must have been written
on my face somehow, I guess.
I was working as a clerk in North Philly in those days. Everyone would either
wave as they walked by or would stop in on Friday's to cash their checks. One
particular young man would smile at me and say hello each time he came in. I
would always smile and say hello in return even though I saw him, I wasn't
conscious of who he was.
One cold winter night in January, I rode the 15 trolley going west. It was the older
trolley back then and very crowded, standing room only at 5:00 PM and as I
moved to the back door of the trolley to signal my stop a tall handsome young
man approached me with a slight smile and said "hi, you know I've seen you on
this trolley before and every time you get off you leave something". I was tired
and in deep thought over what dinner would be and other things regarding
home, and startled I looked around to see what I had left, looking confused at the
young man he said with a smile, "me". We both laughed and I got off at my stop.
The next time I saw him we began to talk and ride the trolley west together. One
evening he got off with me and walked me home. That was the beginning of a
deep and meaningful relationship that has lasted for over 30 years. We married in
1987, raised our children and grandchildren and worked together building a
relationship that has transcended time, but we will always remember our days on
the SEPTA Trolley going west. Oh Yeah, we were married February 14, 1987 at
12:00 noon. Happy Valentines Day!
Ruth & Logan ~ Cezanne Drove Them to It
When I boarded the R3 headed for Center City on May 13th, 2009, I hadn’t seen Logan Dry in a year and
a half. One year apart, I had graduated high school and left him with a final year of senior proms and
cafeteria food to endure. Logan was a good friend in high school, the kind of friend I laughed with every
day and wrote a heartfelt yearbook inscription to. I was boarding the train, alone, headed for the
Philadelphia Museum of Art. I had put off going to the Cezanne exhibit for weeks and weeks, and now I
was forced to go unaccompanied. The semester was ending, and all of my friends had already finished
finals and journeyed home. But solitary Cezanne seemed better than no Cezanne, so I boarded the train
at Langhorne and took the long ride to Market East. Not being blessed with any sense of direction, I was
more than nervous about finding my way to the museum. But when I stepped out of the station and into
the streets of Philadelphia, a familiar shock of blonde hair caught my eye across the street.
“Logan!” I yelled. He turned around, looked for the cause of the noise, spotted me, and grinned. He
crossed the street and we exchanged pleasantries.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I just got off the train. I’m on my way to the art museum to see the Cezanne exhibit. What are you doing
“I go to Philadelphia University now! How was your train ride?”
“It was okay. I don’t really like riding the train. I’m always afraid I’ll miss my stop.”
“But Cezanne drove you to it?”
“Well, at some point, you just have to take a chance.”
Logan, an architecture major, was on his way to Center City to complete a project for a design class. We
agreed to spend the day together, first going to the art museum and then to the locations Logan needed
to visit. At the end of the day, he handed me a ten dollar bill.
“What’s this for?” I asked.
“Buy yourself another ticket next weekend. Meet me at the museum,” he answered with a smile.
I took the train the next weekend and met him in the impressionist section.
I took the train the week after that and met him by the dada art.
I took the train the week after that and met him near the medieval tapestries.
The next week, he told me to meet him outside on the steps. He was there, holding a book on my
favorite artist, Vermeer. He handed it to me, and asked if I wanted to make our relationship official.
“I don’t know,” I said. “It’s not that I wouldn’t like to, but you live almost an hour away. Do you
really think we could make it work?”
“Isn’t it like you said the day you came off the train the first time?” he answered. “Sometimes, you
have to take a chance.”
We celebrated our 7 month anniversary on January 10.
Colleen & Danny ~ “I Have a boyfriend” Line
Our story begins in Spring 2009 at 22nd and Spring Garden
Streets. Danny and I had both just missed the 9:30pm Route
43 bus to Fishtown. I was heading out to meet some friends
and he was heading home from a friend’s house. Usually
having to wait 40 minutes until the next bus would be a bad
thing, but tonight was different. We started talking and
immediately we seemed to have a lot in common. The
conversation flowed easily until the bus arrived. It was
getting late so the bus wasn’t very crowded. We sat near
each other and kept chatting. As we approached my stop, I
felt that Danny and I had established a connection, but I
thought “Come on, who meets someone on the bus?!?!” So I
said goodbye and started walking off the bus. Then as I pass
the bus driver heading to the door, I hear Danny’s voice
behind me. “Hey, can I get your number?” I was definitely
surprised and so I stuttered, “Uuummm, I don’t know…”
Luckily Danny didn’t turn right around and head back to his
seat. He stood there smiling with his phone out and after a
few seconds I gave him my number and said goodbye. I
walked off the bus, assuredly beet red!
So over the next week we exchanged a few texts and decided
to meet for a drink that weekend in Northern Liberties. As for
me, my first-date jitters disappeared right when Danny walked
up to the table. We just seemed to click and I knew that I was
with a very special guy. Then Danny picks up the coaster on
the table and makes a funny face. I picked up mine and we
both burst out laughing. The coaster was part of a Septa
marketing campaign advertising new late-night Regional Rail
trains on the weekend. Our coasters read, “One more chance
Colleen & Danny ~ “I Have a boyfriend” Line (Cont.)
to use the “I have a boyfriend” line.” I put mine right in my
purse – what are the odds that these Septa coasters would
be at our table? I was definitely happy I didn’t use that line
on the 43 bus a week earlier.
After that, we were head over heels! Over the summer we
spent as much time together as possible, and still it was
never enough! We had so many nice dates in Philly, spent
some days down the shore, met each other’s families and
friends, and fell in love.
Soon Danny’s birthday approached. I had kept the Septa
coaster from our first date and I thought it would be nice to
get some more of them to add to his gift. I called Septa’s
Marketing Department to see if I could get my hands on
some. Well it turns out that having those coasters on our
table that first night was an even stranger coincidence
than we had originally thought. That ad campaign was
over a year old and its promotional materials hadn’t been
distributed in a long time. Luckily John Rush from the
department did some digging for me and was able to find
some coasters in time for Danny’s birthday. It was a great
surprise and now we have some extra reminders of our
first date.
Now almost nine months later and our love continues to
flourish. Danny and I are so happy together! And Septa
has definitely helped our relationship grow because
neither of us owns a car. Every time we get on a bus we
think of our first meeting and how glad we are that I didn’t
use the “I have a boyfriend” line!
Christopher & Theresa ~ Love on a $10 Bet
It’s June 30 1987, a bustling day, especially for Bike Courier Chris Shookla 20, who’s day is near
an end, Stopping at my favorite newsstand within the westbound side of The MFL to grab The
Daily News and catch a chat with my Jamaican Buddies who run and lease the newsstand.
As I am carousing the papers and gum and having a laugh, out of the corner of my eye comes
the prettiest girl I had seen all year and the one that would change my life, Problem was
though.. she was on the other side of the platform.. What to do???
Start Talking, Stupid!! And that’s just what I started doing and within minutes I had a small
rapport going with her until suddenly I mispronounced the work Benetton on her shirt and she
proceeded to correct me on the issue…
I thought to myself, Quite Spunky this one is yea… Better Keep Talking…
So from across the tracks we started talking and found it was the last day at her job at The New
Flower Market which was located on the lower level at The Gallery, Also found out she was an
Inxs Fan and that increased the comfort level even more.
Since I happened to be heading the same way she was I figured I would ask if she wanted
company, Told The Jamaicans I was Out and Then the fella from the stand belts out in his
trademark accent, “She Gonna shoot ya down ya bummbaclat, ya doesn’t stands a chance, I
says, Yea ya bastard, I got a tenner that says I’m riding with her and we’ll see about that…
So I yell from across the other side of the tracks, hey love.. this slick Jamaican says I have no
chance with you, so tell me pretty young thing, are you gonna shoot me down or should I come
over there with you, I got a Tenner riding on this so what’s the story…
She smiles and says, Give him the tenner and get over here, My heart dropped, Looked at the
paperman gave him the tenner and proceeded to hit the stairs to the other side to keep talking
to this slender small Philly beauty which stood before me, We boarded the train and continued
to Erie-Torresdale where he dad was gonna meet her..
We said goodbye, exchanged phone numbers, called each other and 4 days later went out on
our first date on July 3 1987, And we have been together ever since.
We married on May 25 1991 at Peddler’s Village in New Hope, PA and currently have a 6 year
old named Christian and are still Septa Commuters.. we are regular riders of The Route 75, 66,
MFL, BSL, Regional Rail (R5 Doylestown) And my son likes trains and buses…
We just thought we would share our story, because it is a TRUE TRUE Story and YES… I
found Love on Septa and never lost it.
Jennifer & Jason ~ A Metro and More Conversation
I moved to Philadelphia in May 2004 and started taking the R6 from
Wissahickon to Suburban Station. After a few months, I saw this really cute
guy standing at the far end of the platform. Eventually, he would come to
be known as “Spikey-Haired Cute Guy From the Train” to my closest
friends. One day, I noticed that he was standing a little further up the
platform than usual. Week after week, it seemed as though he was moving
his way closer to me.
On January 12th, 2005, I headed to my normal spot on the platform, and
there he was, that spikey haired cute guy from the train, standing there with
a Metro – and he handed it to me with a brief “hello.” He did the same
thing the next day as well. Our conversation didn’t go beyond that single
word, but I could barely contain myself when I got on the train those two
mornings. I told my friend that I was going to initiate conversation with
him the next day. Unfortunately, he wasn’t on the platform.
Photo Credit: Dollface Studio
On the 19th, he was back – with another Metro and more conversation. We
introduced ourselves, talked the whole train ride into the city, and went on
our first date the very next day. After a few months of dating, I learned from
his friends that his slow shift on the train platform was a calculated move
that took him weeks to initiate. He had been talking about me for weeks
(his nickname for me? Hot Girl From The Train. Haha.) Finally his
friends convinced him to say hello.
We’ve been together ever since that fateful day in January 2005. And on
November 14 , 2009, Jason and I were married. We stopped at the
Wissahickon train station and had photos taken on the very same platform
where we first met. Even though we now live in Center City and don’t take
public transit as much anymore, we will always be grateful for SEPTA –
without it we may never have met.
Terri & Joe ~ Paratransit Matchmaker
My name is Terri Davis. My husband, Joe, and I met on SEPTA Paratransit on
December 13, 1988. Joe is a paraplegic, and he was riding SEPTA to attend classes at
Community College of Philadelphia. I had recently had knee surgery and could not
bend my leg. So I was temporarily riding Paratransit. Since we lived on opposite sides
of the city (Joe in North Philly, me in West Oak Lane), we should not have been on
the same van. But we were. I noticed Joe immediately. A big, handsome bald man with
a beard. My type. The wheelchair? I honestly had not noticed. Neither one of us spoke.
However, a few days later we were once again on the same bus, with the same bus
driver. Again, given where we lived, this should not have happened once, much less
twice. This time the driver noticed the quite sparks between us. He said to Joe, “Why
don’t you ask her for her number?” Joe replied, “She don’t want my number.” I
chimed in, “How do you know, until you ask?” So he did and I gave him my number.
We talked on the phone for two weeks, and had our first date on December 27, 1988.
Dinner and a movie (where I promptly fell asleep). On our first date Joe told me his
life story (quite colorful, but THAT is another story). He told me he wanted to get
married. I told him that I was not looking for marriage, that perhaps he had the wrong
girl. But Joe then said something that forever changed my life. He said, “If you met
someone who was good to you, who wanted to spend the rest of his life caring for
you, would you consider it?” The way it was worded how could I say, “No?” Four
months later Joe proposed, and we married six months later, on October 19, 1989. On
October 19, 2009, Joe and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Twenty of the
best years of my life. And it all begin on SEPTA paratransit.
From meeting to marriage in 10 months. I thank God everyday for the driver on that
day. I was not raised to approach a guy, and I sensed Joe’s shyness. Had our driver not
taken the initiative on that day both of our lives would have turned out so differently.
Photo Credit: Akira Suwa / The Philadelphia Inquirer
Bernetta & Michael ~ A Balloon and a Footlocker Bag
It was April of 1994, I was on the route 100 train to Radnor as this was my daily
commute to work. I really looked forward to sitting with the same group of people
every morning during my commute. One morning I noticed a tall handsome guy
that would constantly stare at me during the entire commute to Radnor. I also took
notice that this guy would get off of the train at the same stop and hop on a shuttle
As I would walk to my building he would continue to stare at me until his shuttle
bus was no longer in my eye sight. The conversations that I enjoyed on a daily with
the group I sat with during my commute would be about our plans for the week
and/or weekend, celebrity gossip and current events. I told the group that I had a
birthday coming up on May 24th.
The day of my birthday on May 24, 1994, I noticed that the tall handsome guy wasn't
on the train as the conductors made his last call to board the train and suddenly I
see this tall guy running to the platform with a huge happy birthday balloon and a
foot locker bag and entered aboard the train just before the doors closed.
He walked over to me and wished me a Happy Birthday; he gave me the huge
happy birthday balloon and the footlocker bag that contained a pair of Reebok
sneakers exactly like the four other pairs that I owned in an assortment of colors. He
introduced himself to me and from that moment I knew that he was the love of my
We sat together every morning on the train in to work; not too far from my group
that I sat with. We went out on several dates, he moved in to an apartment five
minutes from the train and I moved in with him shortly after. We were both married
the following year on May 20, 1995 and live happily ever after.
Whitney & Sonny ~ Rusty Old Bench
He was tall, dark, and handsome—literally. Six foot one, smooth chocolate skin, beautiful
eyes and masculine features. His demeanor was cool and collected, and although I never
showed it, I was beside myself whenever he was around. His name was Sonny—short for
Sonny Boy. He had inherited the name from his father whose nickname was Sonny after
an extended stay down South with his grandparents.
And so as I rode the 125 down the slim ravine of I-76 East, I was surprised to hear a deep
voice pass through my ears—“Whitney, is that your name?” Now of course I looked at him
like he was crazy, easily forgetting that I was bearing huge monogrammed bamboo
earrings. I quickly pushed my shock into a saucy remark saying “Why would I wear
someone else’s earrings?”, and so the beginning of my life began.
I was in high school at the time, traveling to King of Prussia to get that extra $1 per hour
and put extra money in my pocket. Come to find out Sonny was close to graduating from
school, and was doing just about the same thing. I was too cool to show interest in him.
But I would see him on that bus to and from King of Prussia. I wanted him to like me
badly, but my style would not allow me to show my interest in an overt or smutty way.
For a week I saw him the most; walking by my job, waiting at the bus stop, I even sat right
behind him while he took a nap on the bus! (Which I kicked myself for later because if I
had known it was him sitting right in front of me, I would’ve made up a reason to chat with
him). One night on a crowded bus, he was sitting near the front and gave up his seat for
me—I took the seat and wondered the whole time if he liked me while I admired his strong
hands, cursive letter “S” on his wrist, and beautiful voice as he talked with a friend of his.
“Does giving up a seat indicate He’s into me?” I wondered. After that night I saw him at
69th street. reading a Source magazine and waiting for the 123. I had just gotten my hair
done, and my jeans were extra tight. I had waded through a whole week of thinking about
him, and wondering if he felt anything for me. We had talked about miscellaneous topics,
but his smooth attitude never revealed a waver of lust for me.
Whitney & Sonny ~ Rusty Old Bench Cont.
Usually I could rope a guy easily without revealing any personal wish of dating him. A certain look in the eye, a
slight hand gesture, a smooth delivery of an uninterested Whitney is usually all that is necessary to see most
eyes on men glaze over with lust. But Sonny never broke.
So I saw him sitting on the bench in the doorway of 69th street station. I had purchased some Bing Cherries (my
favorite summertime snack), and I sat down close enough for him to enjoy my Victoria’s Secret Love Spell lotion
that I had secretly slid over my hands and neck. We commenced to talking and started reading the magazine. I
leaned in further to look at a picture of Biggie— and Sonny dropped his arm around my shoulders. That one
gesture sent butterflies throughout my body like a clap in a bat cave. Without words, he instantly became my
man and I was his girl.
The hour long bus ride to King of Prussia graced the grounds of building a powerful foundation to our
relationship. Nine years later, we are still together, Sonny a successful Barber, and me a Bank Clerk. We no
longer ride the bus together because he drives me everywhere. He is such a sweetheart. Now that I have been
with him long enough, I realize that he is a master of controlling his emotions—and that is how he managed to
mask his desire for me.
We still tease each other about the meek beginnings—how I noticed him talking to a girl in King of Prussia, and
later walked up to him and said “ I might have to put you on lock”, as my way of suggesting I was thinking of
taking him off the market. I always get him with the “Whitney...Is that your name” whack pick up line jab. But
anyway, I love him so much; we have had so much personal and joint success together. We’re gearing up to buy
our second house sometime soon. Although the official first time I laid eyes on him happened on the bus, the
true magic happened at that station June 7, 2002. That bench at 69th street station had the Mojo to lock in our
beautiful relationship—I might even call Septa up and ask to buy that rusty thing!
Jared & Gabrielle ~ Say Hi
I first saw her at what would later become our usual
meeting spot.The outbound side of Temple University train
station. It was an unusually warm September afternoon, and
the sun was forcing her to squint slightly as I would try to
gaze over into her direction, hoping to get a better look of
her. It was a Monday, at 3:08pm when we boarded the R3
West Trenton, and it was this exact train that would
later be the stage for our first interaction together.
The next couple of weeks would consist of seeing each
other on campus, and eyes would connect rather
frequently. For some reason or another words were never
spoken, but looks and awkward stares would persist, knowing
we would always have Mondays at 3:08 as a possible
meeting place. This particular Monday I remember rather then
taking my usual position across from her, cleverly having
groups of other students block a direct visual path, I would
stir up enough courage to sit next to her. What I didn’t realize
halfway to my destination was that she was sitting by herself,
with no one in sight. Too late to pull away, I nervously took a
seat parallel to her, making our long overdue introduction
even more probable. Apprehensively awaiting our first words,
I failed to strike a conversation and before you knew it, the
3:08 is pulling into the station and we boarded, just like we
have for the past month, alone and unspoken.
Jared & Gabrielle ~ Say Hi (Cont.)
While onboard I realize she has seated herself directly
behind me, and the train is rather crowded, so the prospect of
being this close sparked my interest, holding onto the thought
that maybe she could be the braver person and get this
overdue “hello” over with. Anxiously crossing one leg over
the other, and sweating a bit from the over packed train car, I
realize her stop is coming up. Now I’ve seen her get off here
four times now, and each time I tell myself you can’t let her go
again without at least a direct smile, or nod of some sort.
Leave it though to the women I would soon fall for to beat me
to the punch. As I can feel her gather her bags and lift herself
up to walk down that long and sometimes never ending aisle, I
see a piece of paper fall onto my bag. And before I can even
read the text of the note, I looked up to receive a smile that I
will never forget, and as her big blue eyes locked with mine, I
knew words would soon follow.
The note read “Say Hi” and her number would follow,
and the rest is history. After a coffee date and a couple pints
of tasty beer I would find myself falling in love with a women
who made the first move on me (a point she likes to bring up
on occasion) and we owe it all to Septa’s R3 West Trenton, for
without having the opportunity for some serious “eye
flirtation” while we waited for the Monday 3:08, and without
such a forum like that of a jam packed train car, my lovely
girlfriend might have never mustered up enough courage
to pass me the note that changed our lives…thank you Septa!
Hillary & Charlie ~ “Scary Train Man”
After 13 years of driving to work in the Roxborough section of the city, I
started a new job at the University of Pennsylvania, and decided to ride
the train. It was March 1997. I was living in North Wales at the time,
and was told that there wasn’t ample parking at the station, and I should
drive down to Ambler and park. It was perfect.
I took the R-5 express to 30th Street and then back to Ambler. Being a
social butterfly, I met a group of people who would sit in the last car on
the way home. I started noticing a guy who would be the first to get on
at Market Street East. He was a serious-looking man, with longish
brown hair. He was so serious-looking that he scared me a little so I
named him “Scary Train Man.” One day he sat right next to me and we
both had on the same Barbour coats, not exactly a popular coat. I
didn’t say a word and looked out the window all the way home hoping
he wasn’t an axe murderer.
A few weeks later, we were pulling in to the Fort Washington station
and Craig, our conductor told everyone to watch the step as they got
off. “It’s a real lu-lu,” he said. Well that cracked me up and I looked at
“Scary Train Man,” and he started to laugh. He had a really nice smile.
The next day, I decided to invite him to sit with the group. I would ask
him a million questions…where did you grow up? Where do you live?
What do you do for a living? I got the whole scoop, except for his
name. I finally asked and he said Charlie Baker. So now I knew
Charlie Baker who grew up in Chestnut Hill, right next to Mt. Airy where
I grew up! “Scary Train Man” no more. It was “Choo-Choo” Charlie
from then on.
Hillary & Charlie ~ “Scary Train Man” Cont.
One day, Charlie got on the train and he had his hair all cut off. He looked beautiful. I
couldn’t believe the difference and immediately went home, called my best friend in
Boston and said, “Charlie Baker cut his hair!” The week before, I called her and said,
“His name is Charlie Baker.” Every day, I had new information to share.
A few weeks went by and I decided to ask him out for a drink. (I don’t think I
mentioned how shy he is) Well, he mumbled something about his sister being in town
and that he couldn’t go. I got rejected.
Another few weeks went by and neither one of us mentioned the drink. So my train
friend suggested that we all go out for happy hour one Friday. He agreed but had no
idea that my friend would back out and it would just be the 2 of us. It worked! He
showed up and we had a great time.
The next week, I asked him to have dinner at my house. Not knowing what a great
cook he was, I served him some concoction that I thought was gourmet. He ate it,
very politely. And I got my first kiss that night.
The following Friday, Charlie asked me to go to Under the Blue Moon for dinner. It
was one of my favorite places. We had a great evening, and the next day, I invited
him to my niece’s 2nd birthday party. He met my entire family, and some friends of
ours he knew from Mt. Airy. This was meant to be. We went home that night to my
house, and he never left.
Once we were together, Charlie told me that he noticed me on the train long before I
noticed him. He thought I was a nurse at Penn, but then convinced himself that I was
widowed with kids and had to go back to the workforce. I was wearing a new
coat…and that’s what tipped him off. Makes total sense, don’t you think? And, best
of all, he had me driving a blue Range Rover! Boy was he wrong. We have been
married for 12 years, 6 months after we met. January 23rd to be exact…one day
before my 37th birthday. And it’s all because of Craig the conductor and the R-5
Doylestown Express, which will be forever called “The Love Train.”
Kristin & Don ~ Late Love Train
Now when I hear the song “Love Train” it makes me smile, a song that until
five years ago had little meaning to me. I never thought that I would find
love on the tracks, SEPTA’s that is. At the time I was a post-doctoral fellow
at Jefferson, taking the R5 Paoli-Thorndale line into work daily from
Stafford. Still used to my grad student ways, I was not much of a morning
person and often had to run the last 50 yards up the station steps as the
train was approaching. Winded, I usually looked for the first available seat,
unaware of those around me. Once I settled myself, tucked my bags, and
found my pass in my oversized (and overstuffed) purse, I was ready to start
a new day.
Most people were busy reading the newspaper, prepping last-minute for
class or a meeting, or simply catching a few more minutes of sleep. Most
that is, except for one guy, who always had a smile on his face when he saw
me haphazardly board the train. He always said “hello” or “good morning”
with a warm smile. I began to look forward to my daily hellos from that
friendly stranger; a nice way to start my day. We soon realized that we both
exited the train at Market East and seemed to walk in the same
direction…down 10th Street, to Jefferson. This ritual and friendship
continued for some time, until that one day that changed everything and
eventually changed our lives.
One day in March, 2005, I caught a different train than the one that I usually
rode home, literally squeezing through the doors as they closed (much to
the chagrin of the conductor, to whom I mouthed ‘sorry’). And there,
laughing, with a smile on his face was my new train buddy. I smiled with
embarrassments as the color rose to my cheeks. He was seated next to
someone, so I walked further back and sat in the last seat of the car. I took
my book out of my bag and escaped to another world.
Kristin & Don ~ Late Love Train (Cont.)
Lost in the lull of the train motion and my novel, I didn’t notice right away that the train had slowed and then stopped.
Looking out the windows, nothing seemed to be wrong. We sat for a few minutes until the conductor announced that the
train in front of us had stopped up ahead for an emergency. We pulled into Bryn Mawr station and many people exited the
train after making phone calls to be picked up. I had no plans that night, so I settled back down with my book and decided to
wait for the train to continue on its way. I soon noticed that most of the train had emptied, except for me, a passenger seated
next to me, and…my train buddy.
He looked back and smiled at me, and then he stood up and walked back to my seat and asked the man sitting next to me if
he would mind moving to a different seat so that he could sit with “this pretty girl.” We sat together and talked while the train
progressed further down the R5 tracks until another announcement was made that all passengers would need to exit at
Stafford station. I wasn’t concerned because it was my stop, but I knew that “my train buddy” needed to go to Daylesford,
which was two stops further. I offered to drive him to his car and he agreed, but only if I first joined him for dinner.
That was our first date. We had a great time and it was obvious that there was a connection here. He did however forget to
mention to me that he was supposed to be having dinner with his parents that same night! After a wonderful dinner, I drove
him to his car at the Daylesford station. As we pulled in to the lot he said, “hmmm…that looks like my dad’s car” and then it
dawned on him that he missed dinner with his parents, without a phone call. This was the first time that his dad met the “girl
on the train”(apparently I had a nickname too)! I felt terrible, and he mouthed to me, “sorry” with that same smile that I had
grown to adore.
We continued to see each other on the train every morning, but now he saved a seat for me (sorry ladies). I no longer ran for
the trains, in fact I made sure to arrive early so that I didn’t miss seeing him. We continued dating and riding the train
together until I left my post-doc for a position at a company in the suburbs. It was bitter-sweet; I was excited to start my new
job, but now I would no longer be riding the train. I was saddened, but I knew that although I wouldn’t be riding the R5
anymore, I had found love on the train.
I am thrilled to report that my “train buddy” married “the girl on the train” in October of 2007! Our story of how we met was
so important to us that at our wedding, instead of using the typical table numbers to direct our guests to their seats, every
table was named after a station on the R5 line. My parents sat at the “Strafford table” and my husband’s parents at the
“Daylesford table.” I created signs for each table with a historical black and white photo of the station house on the front and
some interesting facts about the history of that station on the back. Our wedding videographer surprised us with some
‘antiqued’ video of the R5 train heading down the tracks to the sounds of the “Chattanooga choo-choo” and “Love Train” for
the opening and closing scenes of our wedding video.
I am happy to report that my now father-in-law does not hold waiting for hours at the Daylesford station that night against me!
My husband still rides the R5 daily and I cherish the times that we take that same train into the city together--just like the “old
days.” SEPTA will forever hold a special place in our hearts. Thank you SEPTA!