Love at Work: 5 Couples Tell Their Stories
Vinnie and Bill Harrity of Broadview Heights, Ohio
I started working at Roy Rogers Restaurant on Route 17 in Rutherford, NJ (it's now a Wendy's) and met my husband-to-be there. He cooked the roast beef in the kitchen. I made the french fries and Roast Beef sandwiches. Bill and I enjoyed talking about music--something we still do to this day. He was smart, kind, fun--and had a great family. I considered him "just a friend". We would go to parties together, concerts and Wildwood, NJ (the Jersey shore). One day my dearest friend asked me "why aren't you dating Bill?" I said I didn't want to ruin a great friendship. Well, let's just say we both got over that and have been married for 34 years. He's still my best friend.
Nina Lentini and Richard Norman of Norwich, CT
One day at Adweek, a strange copy editor showed up, hired to freelance by someone who had worked at Newsweek, where this guy had a full-time job. He was quiet, kept to himself. Maybe a week or two later, I returned from lunch with what turned out to be a mutual acquaintance and, as I stepped off the elevator, there was Richard Norman, sitting at the desk facing the lift.
We chatted briefly. I liked his smile. That weekend, he called me at home and asked me to dinner. I knew right away this was going places and it felt a bit disturbing to have him in the office, to glance sideways, for us to have this secret. But we kept it that way, mostly because he was so private (me, less so). I was never his boss as he worked on publications other than the one I worked on so that was not a problem.
About four months later, we married, also on the sly, with just two attendants and a photographer. When our Los Angeles office received the announcement I sent, they thought I'd married a different Richard, so unknown was mine to them. That was nearly 26 years ago.
Eleanor and Al Kamieniecki of Nutley, N.J.
Al had a few friends who worked for me in the office. They set us up and Al eventually came in on a Saturday when I was working and worked up the nerve to come talk to me. He noticed I was reading Disney's biography and how Disney was born in Chicago, so he asked me if I'd like to go for a ride to find his birth home. That was our first date. He was an Area Supervisor at the time and I was the Manager for the Customer Service office of what was then Fisher Scientific.
Al did not report to me but he did report to my partner who was the second manager in the office. We did keep it quiet for awhile, but Al was so happy to have met someone (his first wife had died several years earlier). I found out the office friends had been prompting him to ask me out for quite a while before he worked the nerve up to do so.
When we got engaged, the Director in the office changed the reporting structure for him to report to her. And so we got married just over a year later. The only problem it caused is that he couldn't work for Thermo-Fisher in our business unit because he would ultimately have been reporting to me when we moved to New Jersey.
The only challenge with marrying a co-worker is that you start talking shop all the time and you don't get a break from work when home, and since he was a supervisor and I a manager, I couldn't discuss much of my job since it was proprietary. We've been married 12 years.
Samantha Burroughs and Jason Thomas of Charlotte, N.C.
Jason started working with me at Time Warner Cable in Learning and Development a week before Christmas. Sadly, no one told him about the fact your first check comes in paper form, not direct deposit. I was the only other employee on our team in the office on Christmas Eve and I get a ping from the new guy. He asks me if I was familiar with the pay schedule and if he would get paid before the new year. Once I realized what happened, I was able to pull strings and get him a paycheck that day. These are the things that make people love you!
Fast-forward two months.
I decided with a few other co-workers to start a kickball team to meet new people, have fun, and get some exercise. Jason asks if he can join and I say, 'Sure!' I love meeting new people and Jason had never really hung out with the kickballers after work. He comes out with us and he and I have an easy conversation. He starts dropping by my desk to ask questions about all types of details about projects. He stops by to drop off a copy of Wreck It Ralph, because he hears that I love Disney and haven't seen this one yet. He starts texting me after work with random questions. (I am still clueless that he has any interest in me, at all.)
One weekend I invite him out with my friends, because I feel that he's a great guy who needs a girlfriend. I tell him come out with us, we'll have fun, you'll meet new people, you'll get out of the house on a Saturday night....again, I had no clue that he was interested in me.
He comes out, meets my friends, they LOVE him. Instantly, I'm getting, "Where has he been?" "Why aren't you dating him?!?" all night. Of course, my response is, "I work with him and he isn't interested in me." I was wrong. (Honestly, I thought he was out of my league, because he's a little hottie!) All it took was a few beers for confidence and he decided to slow dance with me. Then, right there, in front of everyone, he kisses me.
I ask, "Why did you do that?"
He replies, "Because, I've wanted to for so long, and it seemed like the right time."
We've been together ever since.
He proposed Sept. 10 on a dirty street in St. John. Our wedding day is April, 26, 2014.
I can't WAIT!!
Jeanette Jaskowski and Jeffrey Kovach, North Brunswick, N.J.
This guy and I had been working together at Dr. Harvey Weingarten's family practice in Kendall Park, NJ. I was a very shy and quiet receptionist. He was an outgoing and sociable medical assistant. The shifts were long, so naturally we spent a lot of time together. We became good work friends, but both of us were in long term relationships so our friendship never went beyond the office.
I had begun to develop a crush on him after working together for a while. The first opportunity I had to act on my feelings was in 2009. I was in a friend's wedding and my boyfriend at the time did not want to come because of the distance. He suggested I ask "that guy Jeff" to go with me instead. When I finally summoned up the courage to ask Jeff to be my date for the wedding, he said he would like to. But it did not work out because my boyfriend wound up driving down.
A month later my friend was having a Halloween Party in NYC, and my boyfriend did not want to come. Again he said, "Ask that guy Jeff." When I asked Jeff to go to the party with me, I gave him plenty of time to think it over. When he said yes a few days later, I was grinning from ear to ear. Although the plan was to only go to the party dressed as doctors, Jeff's friend had won tickets to see Weezer at the Hammerstein ballroom that same night, but she was not able to go; so she offered them to Jeff.
At the concert, as we made our way to the bar through the crowd, he grabbed my hand and my heart melted in my chest, and for the first time ever I was breathless. It was at that moment I knew Jeff was the one for me. The rest of that night, I tried to hide my feelings from him and acted like everything was cool. We went to the Halloween party and stayed out until 5 am.
For the next few months we kept our relationship a secret, because in our office, everyone knew everyone else's business, and we didn't want it to be awkward if our relationship didn't work out. But that was never the case. We have been inseparable since that night, and after four years, he asked me to marry him. Our date is set for May 30, 2015 at Maritime Parc, in Jersey City.