You Never Know Where A Friendly Gesture Might Lead You

“This is my favorite part” I said sarcastically to the redhead in front of me as we grabbed our belts, shoes and other miscellaneous belongings from the trays that run through the x-ray scanners at the airport security check point.

It was something I might have said to anyone in front of me in the same situation, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t noticed her seconds earlier as she went through the body scanner before me. I guess you could say that this was my comedic attempt at pre-flight flirting.

She was stunningly beautiful. She was wearing a tight white shirt that left little of her figure to the imagination, had a brilliantly red head of hair, and a smile that snatched my gaze as if there was nothing else in the entire airport worth looking at.

“Oh yeah, I wish I could do this every day…” I continued, flirting casually while collecting my belongings.

The encounter was brief, nothing out of the ordinary. We were at an airport after all. The Reagan International Airport in Washington DC. I was headed back to Florida and as far as I knew, she was heading to some far off land, never to be seen again.

After the brief exchange I walked towards the gate, not even paying attention to which way she went.

I didn’t think much of it at the time. Just a little playful banter with a random stranger. A little airport humor to lighten up the all too intrusive process of the pre-flight screening.

We Meet Again

As I waited to board the plane, I noticed that she was standing right behind me.

Pleasantly surprised to see her again I said hi and introduced myself formally.

As we walked down the aisle of the airplane I noticed that she was still right behind me. I know because I kept looking back and checking to see when she would peel off and find her seat.

“You following me?,” I asked as I looked back a third time to see if she was still there. It was the perfect continuation of the playful flirting that had started at the airport security checkpoint.

As we walked further down the aisle and got closer to the back of the airplane I started thinking to myself that I might actually win the airline lottery for once.

The Airplane Lottery?

You know what I am talking about. You get on an airplane, sit in your seat and watch all of the people coming down the aisle; trying to determine which of them will fill the empty seat next to you.

You mentally will someone normal to sit down next to you (maybe that hot girl you were flirting with earlier) but they always end up walking past you. More often than not, you end up with some overweight mouth breather that wants to talk to you about online video games for the entire flight.

I Happened to be traveling with a friend this time, so I knew at least one of the people I’d be sharing the row with but there was a wild card third seat, and the cute redhead from the security line was still behind me. There was still a chance.

Ben and I sat down and she kept walking. It was over. She would be rows away and I would have no chance to get to know her further.

Not A Total Loss

“21 F” said some guy behind me. Apparently someone was sitting in his seat. I look back briefly and when I did, I realized that all was not lost. There she was in the row directly behind me. Between some old man and an teenager who must have thought he was the airline lottery jackpot winner when he saw who he would be sitting next to for the entire flight.

Our eyes met again and by this point I was starting to get the feeling that there might actually be a little chemistry between us.

Over the next few minutes I looked back at her at least three or four times. I finally said, “Quit looking at me.”

I Was Obviously Kidding

I had been joking with some of the other people around me on the plane and while a number of us were laughing and talking back and forth, I found myself looking back in her direction way too often. I just couldn’t seem to help myself. Her smile was addicting.

When the pilot turned the cabin lights off I looked back at her again and said “Well… This is not exactly how I pictured our first date…” which not only got a laugh out of her but from a few other passengers sitting around us that heard the witty one liner.

As the airplane took off, I leaned over and asked Ben if he would switch her seats when the pilot turned off the fasten seat belts light. I felt like I said it too loudly and hoped she hadn’t heard me. At that point I wasn’t sure how I was going to ask her to make the switch and I wasn’t even all that confident that she would actually agree to do it.

The Switch

I sat and thought about it for a while before turning to ask her “Hey, want to switch my buddy seats so we can make this first date official?” It took her a second to register what I was asking and I actually thought she might say no for a second, but she didn’t.

The time between asking her and making the actual seat swap felt like forever, but it was probably closer to 15 minutes. There was quite a bit of turbulence and I remembered the captain telling us to keep our seat belts on so I prodded Ben to just get up and make the swap.

We spent the rest of the flight chatting away. Not an awkward moment between us for almost two hours. At one point I remember wishing that the flight was a little longer so that we could keep the conversation going. Mostly I just wanted to know more about her. I wasn’t ready for it to end.

Second Date?

“Do you have a boyfriend?,” I asked as we began our descent.

“No” she replied. I followed up by asking her to go on a real date with me sometime soon.

I handed her my phone with a new contact entry screen open to exchange information during the descent. After her name she typed Airplane Date. It was her turn to be funny and I appreciated the humor.

Walking from the plane towards the baggage claim, we said a few final words as we prepared to go our separate ways. There was a little awkwardness at this point, at least in my mind, as I decided if this interaction had been hug-worthy. I decided not to push my luck. Her car was parked in a different lot than ours and she had not checked a bag. This would be goodbye for now.

What’s Next?

I’m not sure where this road leads or if we will ever even see each other again, but it’s too good a story to not think about how we might tell it at some party five years from now.

Maybe we are married and someone asks, “How did you two meet?”

We might look at each other and say, “Funny you should ask actually.”

Maybe she starts to tell the story of our security line encounter and then turns to me and says, “No you tell it honey, you tell the story so much better!”


Maybe I’ll never see her again. Maybe this is just a fun little story about a chance encounter.

I kind of hope that’s not the case because I would love to see that smile again, but this is life after all, and whom among us knows how any of our stories will actually end.

P.s. I am well aware that there are dozens of other outcomes to this situation, but none of them would have made as good a story. However, I would like to hear your thoughts on this experience, so leave them in the comments below. 

Image credit 


25 replies
  1. nailson
    nailson says:

    Hi Raymmar,

    So i have a similar story, but with a happy end!

    It was almost 3 years ago, in 2011 i was lonely and sad, and i just had hit a car with my motorcycle a few days before it. And a coworker said: Hey Nailson, we are going to the mall, we’ll have a drink with some other friends.

    (At that time, i had depression and my life was horrible)

    Promptly i said “Yes, why not? And if i drink too much, i’ll sleep somewhere else, Maybe in a house of a friend. I could just say no and go home… but i did well!

    And when we arrived, i saw her, with that beautiful smile, and we loved at the first sight. And i tought “who’s that nice girl, with this beautiful smile?”

    We started talking and it was pleasant, i gave my phone number and on saturday we saw each other again, our second date was amazing.

    Well, i’m married with her, and since that day, We are happy, a life full of joy!

    • Raymmar Tirado
      Raymmar Tirado says:

      Hello Nailson, thanks for sharing your story.

      Things work out in weird ways some time.

      My story has a happy ending so far though. We are dating regularly now and if am looking forward to see where this relationship ends up.

      Life is a funny thing. Glad you are still happily married. May the rest of us be so lucky.

  2. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I was grinning from ear to ear this entire story. I thought it was so cute and romantic in some many ways! Cheer’s to taking chances and being open to love. After all, a chance encounter may lead to a lifetime of happiness (I mean that is how Travis and I began our love story). Sending many positive and happy thoughts your way!!

    • Raymmar Tirado
      Raymmar Tirado says:

      Yes, it was a fun encounter. Who knows where it leads but I had to write it up. Maybe one day we will look back on this article as something more than just a romantic blog post.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  3. Frank Maggio
    Frank Maggio says:

    Moral here is to always take a chance on an opportunity, what’s there to lose? Also, just be yourself, which you clearly were doing in this situation! ;)

  4. Thomas A Sutor
    Thomas A Sutor says:

    I loved the story, and nothing can be better than a connection with someone you might make a life time partner. I do hope you guys stay in touch and take it to the next level. I met a nice lady myself, and we connected and talked, and I even stole the first kiss to make sure there was something more than just conversation. Time will tell, but hope is one of the best things in life!

    • Raymmar Tirado
      Raymmar Tirado says:

      Haha. Well, this is kind of a rare occurrence as you can imagine but I hear of people meeting on planes every once in a while.

      Just be yourself and don’t be scared to lay it on the line. Worst case scenario, someone says no!

      Thanks for reading.

  5. Onye
    Onye says:

    awwww too cute. Why didn’t you offer to take her number? I’m guessing you didn’t want to be too direct? Keep us posted on whether she messages back or not! :)

  6. Lisa Mei Norton
    Lisa Mei Norton says:

    I am a little confused…you referred to this in your last paragraph as a “hypothetical situation”…did it really happen or not? If it did…good on ya…great story! If it did not, still a great story! Hope you see her again! :)

      • Lisa Mei Norton
        Lisa Mei Norton says:

        Awesome…it really is a great story…and yes…this does sound like “love at first flight”! ;)

      • Raymmar Tirado
        Raymmar Tirado says:

        Well… Don’t get too excited. Haha. I might have romanticized it a bit for the online audience but there was definitely some chemistry. “Maybe she will read this and let us know for her perspective?”

        He said… Hoping she would read this and share her perspective. Lmao.

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