Summer Lovin’: Meeting your Soulmate on Amtrak
Meeting your soulmate on Amtrak: the ride of your life. Our Amtrak Stories are usually a series created by special guests sharing their travel experience, but this time we have a very special tale. In this piece, Amtrak commuter Laura Gregorio retells the story of how she met her now fiancé on the train – serendipity at its finest.
My college friends had planned a reunion in DC over MLK weekend in 2014. I was living in Philly at the time, so DC was only a quick train ride away. I coordinated with friends from New York to be on the same train to DC to spend some time catching up onboard before we arrived late Friday night.
When I boarded the train in Philly, I noticed an empty seat next to a cute guy whose name I would later learn was Tom. As much as I wanted to sit down right next to him and say “hello,” I was very shy and took the window seat in the same row, leaving two empty seats across the aisle between us. Shortly after I sat down, two older women traveling together boarded the train and were going to sit on the empty aisle seats. I took this as my opportunity to offer up my seat and switch to the empty one next to Tom.
A few minutes later, I learned that my friends and I had not booked the same train. They were still 15 minutes away from the Philadelphia station, so I was on a train by myself. Bracing myself for the solo trek, I ordered some wine. As I poured myself a glass of wine and thought about what to do for the rest of my trip, I heard a laugh coming from the seat next to me. Tom had taken his headphones out and told me what a great idea having wine on the train was. I offered to share some with him, which he politely declined a couple times before accepting.
We started talking, and I was surprised at how easily the conversation flowed. We had one mutual friend, we both loved waterskiing, and we both thought we had the crazier Sicilian last name. It turned out his friend had gotten stuck at work and missed the train too. I knew each minute we were getting closer and closer to DC and I didn’t want to stop talking with Tom.
The happy couple on their engagement night
By the time we pulled into Union Station in DC, I was smitten. I was torn because I had just met this kind, intelligent, funny, and handsome man, but knew the chances of us ever seeing each other again were extremely slim. When Tom asked for my number I was surprised again, but tried to keep my excitement under control.
We ended up seeing each other again in DC that Saturday night when he and his friends ended up at a bar close to where I was staying. On the train ride home, I finally caught up with the girlfriends I was supposed to travel with Friday night. I told them all of the details of my train ride and how I met this amazing guy.
I went to New York two weeks later and went out to dinner with Tom. We ate Cuban food and talked until we were the last people in the restaurant. We’ve been together ever since, and on my birthday this April, Tom proposed on a sailboat off of Manhattan.
There were so many little things that came together for Tom and I to sit next to each other on that train. If either of us had decided to get to DC a different way or if our friends had been on the train with us, I don’t know if we would have met and been able to connect like we did. We tell all of our friends to travel by train now and to take their headphones out to talk to the person next to them. You never know where a chance encounter on the train might lead.