FROM strangers on a plane to a traffic accident – three women reveal how they found The One in the unlikeliest places by Kate Graham.
Three women reveal how they found The One in the unlikeliest placesCredit: Getty Images
Ellie Fox with her husband Johny and their son Lior
Ellie says: ‘On a canalside walk, Johny told me he loved me, and I immediately said I loved him, too’Credit: Ellie Fox
Ellie Fox, 24, a full-time mum, lives in Manchester with her husband Johny, 41, an optician, and their son Lior, 15 months.
“Dashing on to the plane with seconds to spare, I collapsed into my seat.
It wasn’t until we were in the sky that I finally caught my breath and looked at the handsome, dark-haired stranger sitting next to me.
A few weeks earlier, in October 2015, I’d asked my manager at the opticians where I worked if I could take some holiday.
I wanted to visit my friend in Israel for a long weekend – and, as luck would have it, she said her fiancé was trying to sell his return flights to Tel Aviv for the exact dates I wanted to go.
She explained that he was supposed to be going with his friend Johny, but had changed his mind and couldn’t get a refund, so I paid £300 and the ticket was transferred into my name.
I almost missed the flight on October 29 when I misplaced my phone, but thankfully I found it and made it in the nick of time.
At first, I didn’t even notice Johny next to me, but when the lady sitting on my other side began to eat really noisily, our eyes met and we smiled.
We ended up chatting for a lot of the flight.
Johny, who worked as an optician, explained he also had friends in Israel, so decided to keep the flight.
At 35, he was 17 years older than me, so I didn’t feel any fireworks initially.
At Tel Aviv airport Johny helped me with my large suitcase, and we went our separate ways.
Having fun staying with my friend, I didn’t think about him in those four days, but was happy to see him again at check-in, and we chatted all the way home.
A few weeks later we saw each other at my manager’s wedding, then started texting and met up for a drink in early December.
On the date, I felt a definite spark between us.
Johny explained he’d only booked the trip to Tel Aviv because his weekend in Spain had fallen through, and I realised we could so easily have not met at all.
When friends and family found out about us, some were concerned about the age gap, telling me that it wouldn’t work, but as soon as they met him, their worries disappeared.
They could see what a great guy he was and how happy he made me.
In March 2016, we went to Venice on our first holiday.
On a canalside walk, Johny told me he loved me, and I immediately said I loved him, too.
We bought a house a year later, and on a surprise trip to Paris the same year, Johny took me stargazing and proposed.
We married in Tel Aviv the following spring in front of 180 guests, and our son Lior was born in December 2020.
I still can’t believe the twists and turns that brought us together.
If Johny had gone to Spain, if his friend hadn’t changed his mind about going, or if I’d missed my flight like I almost did, we never would have met.”
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Lindsay lives with husband Trevor and children Ethan, 10, and Ella, seven
Lindsay says: ‘We talked and laughed for so long, we were the last to leave. Things developed quickly after that’Credit: Lindsay Shillito
Lindsay Shillito, 38, a stay-at-home mum, lives in Surrey with husband Trevor, 54, an engineer, and children Ethan, 10, and Ella, seven.
“As my car skidded across the dual carriageway, I felt terrified. Steering frantically away from the central reservation, I knew that if I hit it head-on, I’d be in trouble.
At that moment on October 12 2008, the only thing going through my mind was staying alive.
It started like any other Saturday. I was heading to the shops in the left-hand lane of a dual carriageway when a convertible sped along the slip road. It appeared so quickly in my lane, I had to swerve to avoid it.
I hit the kerb and lost control of my car, which sped across the lanes, clipping another car before stopping inches from the central reservation.
Adrenalin flooded through me as I got out. I was unhurt and somehow my car wasn’t badly damaged.
The convertible had sped off, but the road behind me was at a standstill. A man in the passenger seat of a car beside me wound down his window and asked if I was OK.
He stayed with me when the men in the car I’d hit angrily came over, which helped keep me calm.
He told me his name and we swapped numbers in case I needed it for anything.
It was all such a horrible blur that I didn’t really register anything about him.
Later that day, I called him to check that he’d be OK with me giving his details to the police as a witness.
He was friendly, but I didn’t think anything of it.
I was amazed when, just 20 minutes later, Trevor texted to say that he lived nearby and asked if I fancied a drink to calm my nerves.
I laughed – I couldn’t believe he was asking me out.
Due to the shock, I couldn’t remember much about him, apart from the fact he had grey hair.
I didn’t agree to a drink but sent a friendly reply. Later, feeling curious, I looked him up on Facebook and realised that he was good-looking.
After I sent him a friend request, we got chatting. Trevor told me he was a divorced dad and worked as an engineer.
He was warm and funny, and I agreed to a date the next evening.
I was sick with nerves beforehand, but once I got to the restaurant, the spark was instant.
We talked and laughed for so long, we were the last to leave. Things developed quickly after that.
I invited him to a work event, then I met his friends at his 41st birthday a week later.
My friends thought it was a bit crazy, but I knew it was right.
We bought a place together in April 2009, got engaged that October and married in July 2010.
At the ceremony my friend Jo read a poem she’d written about how we’d met, which everyone loved.
The driver of the convertible was never caught, but when we drive down that road, we tell our kids Ethan and Ella that’s where we met.
It may not be the most romantic setting, but we were exactly where we were meant to be.”
Life coach Jacqueline with husband BruceCredit: Jacqueline Kent
Jacqueline says: ‘It was spooky how well we were getting on’Credit: Jacqueline Kent
Jacqueline Kent, 46, a life coach, lives in Nottingham with husband Bruce, 47, a handyman, and her sons Zac, 15, and Sam, 24.
“Sitting in bed one Sunday night in July 2017, I flicked through pictures on Tinder of men with their tops off or sitting in their cars – none of them appealed to me.
I’d separated from my husband of 14 years the previous October and was in a good place as a single mum of three sons – the youngest two lived with me, and my eldest, Kieran, now 29, lived nearby.
I’d decided to dip my toe into the dating world again, though I wasn’t looking for anything serious.
Signing up to Tinder, I picked a photo and wrote a bit about myself, including the fact I’m terrible at starting conversations.
Because my ex lived 19 miles away, I set the maximum search distance at 15 miles.
As my profile went live, I felt nervous. I did connect with one guy and we went on a date, but there was no spark.
Then, two weeks later, I was looking through the app when I saw Bruce
One photo was a full-length shot, and another was him in fancy dress as Crocodile Dundee, which made me smile.
He looked normal and fun, so I swiped right. When I woke up the next morning we’d matched, and he’d already sent me a message.
He’d read that I was terrible at starting conversations and wanted to be the first to get in touch.
The connection I’d felt when I’d seen his photos grew stronger as our messages flew back and forth all day. I learned that he had four teenage children, and was separated.
It was spooky how well we were getting on.
By Monday evening he asked me out for a date that Friday. I felt a shivery feeling, like something amazing was happening.
In those next few days, as we messaged constantly, I realised he lived 19 miles away. How had we connected?
We figured out Bruce had been driving near my house that Sunday night, coming back from a weekend away – a route he never normally took – when my app picked him up.
From the moment we met at a bar that Friday night, it felt like I’d known this kind, genuine man forever.
We didn’t want the night to end, so I invited him back to my house.
There were some kisses, but mostly we just sat and talked until 5am.
From then on, we were inseparable.
Three days after our first date I told Bruce I loved him, and he said the same to me a few days later. It was quick, but it felt right.
My family and friends thought he was lovely, and in May 2018, we moved in together.
By then, Bruce had joined my choir, and in February 2019 we were there when he got down on one knee and I said yes.
We married in November 2021 and I can’t imagine what life would be like if Bruce hadn’t driven past my house.“