Valentine’s Day Contest Stories

Last month we asked couples who met on TriMet to send us their TriMet love stories for our Valentine’s Day Contest. The winner receives a night at Hotel deLuxe in Downtown Portland and a $75 gift certificate to the hotel’s restaurant, Gracie’s.

On Valentine’s Day we announced the winner of our contest and celebrated all the couples who found love while riding TriMet. Read their stories below.

Grand Prize

Danette Burchill and Matt HaynesDanette Burchill and Matt Haynes

Matt and I met while waiting for the #20 on December 23rd, during the snowstorm of 2008. Buses were understandably delayed and a group of 10 people had accumulated at the bus shelter on 28th and East Burnside.

“Well,” Matt said to the crowd “would anyone like to play an alphabet game while we wait? How ‘bout ‘Vegetables: A-Z?’”

“Hmmm… I don’t know…” I replied. “Could we include fruits as well?”

“Uh, all right, I guess.” he said and got us going. The whole crowd enthusiastically played “Fruits and Vegetables” and had started “Rock Bands from the 70’s and 80’s,” when the #20 arrived.

I was impressed by Matt’s boldness, playful spirit and how he brought a group of strangers together into a community, if only for a moment. Once on the bus, I thought to myself: ‘Now that’s the kind of guy I’d like to be with. Too bad I’ll never see him again.”

I was wrong. It turned out we were next door neighbors. Three weeks later, we were taking the #20 again, and Matt asked me out on our first date. We are getting married on July 9, 2011. Thanks, Trimet!

Other Great Stories

Janel Fausti and her husbandJanel Fausti

My “sweet” story begins on TriMet bus #44 headed into downtown Portland one rainy February morning. With only one available seat, Fate presented me with my future husband. We talked incessantly until reaching his stop in Old Town with no time to exchange phone numbers. From my stop on 5th and Oak, to my office two blocks away, I could think of nothing but the man I had just met. I told all my friends my “ships passing in the night” story. One month later, on yet a different Portland TriMet bus, I unknowingly took the seat behind my future sweetheart. Looking out the window into the grey clouds, my day brightened when the man in front of me turned and said “Hi Janel!” My heart skipped a beat as I realized he was the man I connected with earlier – and, he even remembered my name! He offered me his business card and I called him three days later. Our first date was at Kells Irish Pub after which we both rode the bus home to our respective stops. We married five years later, following engagement pictures at the Kings Hill Max stop, and have been happily married ever since.


Jason Baker and his wifeJason Baker

It wasn’t so much the delicate 7:17 AM light on the blue line MAX as the fact that the cuffs of my rain pants were tucked deep into my socks in a most unprofessional manner for a school teacher. A bizarre, if only slightly so, version of an early rush hour fashion statement. Any fellow bike commuters will, however, sympathize with the dilemma of just what to do with ones pants to keep them from tangling in the gears of one’s bike. A cold, rainy, early spring ride through NE Irvington to the Lloyd center MAX station and a decided shortage of coffee that morning conspired to keep me from untucking my pant cuffs.

A life changing decision as it turned out. I hung my bike up, and by NE 60th Ave had settled into my morning ride. At that moment, my wife Michelle, the beautiful stranger with whom I had shared more than one significant glance over the past few days and perhaps weeks on our shared MAX, saw her opening.

“Nice socks” she said from across the isle.

I looked down, then up. Our eyes met again and the rest, as they say, is history.


Ellen Grimm and Asher MacArthur-GrimmEllen Grimm and Asher MacArthur-Grimm

It was dark and rainy that night as I got on the #15 at Burnside and NW 21st. I was heading to Belmont to meet with a friend even though I was working early the next day. As we made our way through downtown, the bus was filling up quickly. Even so, I noticed her when she got on the bus. She sat across the aisle from me, and I kept sneaking glances in her direction. As it became more crowded, she got up so someone could sit. She moved farther and farther back as more people got on, but I kept looking back at her. When she got off the bus, I saw her look back over her shoulder as she walked up the street.

The next morning I looked at craigslist Missed Connections, and I was amazed when I saw “#15 Cutie Tuesday Night” posted there. It was her, and she was looking for me! I sent a reply, and she emailed me back. We agreed to meet up, and three years later we’re still so happy together.

Oh yeah, our first date? Met in NW, had dinner, and (of course) took the bus together over to the east side for coffee!


Robin and George HelmRobin and George Helm

I never expected to meet my husband on a Tri-Met bus, but then it really isn’t that surprising considering there are few places where a group of strangers can become friends so quickly. While every bus trip starts with that inevitable and sometimes dreaded wait time, I came to appreciate the daily ritual of standing with “the regulars” as I waited for the bus to take me downtown. I stood with an accountant, an engineer, and a banker and developed strong bonds with them, so much so that we worried when anyone of us was the least bit late. Would Sally miss the bus? If we altered our schedule in any way, we’d have some explaining to do the next day – not out of obligation, but because we became friends, and sometimes friends worry when routines alter. I no longer need to explain why I’m not at the bus stop; my husband (the engineer) knows everything now. And Sally? Well, 18 years ago she served the cake at our wedding. We still get together to share laughs and she, admittedly, still occasionally misses the bus.


Amy and Evan WernerAmy and Evan Werner

I was only half paying attention to the fellow waiting next to me for the streetcar.

Reading my horoscope absorbed most of my interest as we engaged in mundane chit chat. I was shocked when he asked, “Say, would you like to go out to lunch sometime?” just as the streetcar curved towards us.

That’s when I turned to look at him. He was cute! And didn’t seem the least bit creepy. I said, “Sure” and we both awkwardly and excitedly stepped onto the streetcar together.

I didn’t have a pen with me but my lipstick had a sharp edge. He hesitated to use it before scrawling his name across the cover of the Portland Mercury.

“Evan” it read. Even his name seemed nice.

I wrote my name on the lower half of the cover before tearing it and handing it to him.

“Amy” he said and smiled.

We’re now married and commute every morning by bus. He often kisses my hand before I get off. I’m very pregnant and have a bit of a waddle to my step these days. Our baby is due the week of Valentine’s Day.

Who says public transit isn’t romantic?

UPDATE: Amy had a 10-pound baby boy February 13. Welcome to the world, Alden Grant!


Fred and Teresa JonesFred and Teresa Jones

Here’s how I met my wife on trimet about 5 years ago. I had rang the bell for the next stop, I had a basket of groceries that I was maneuvering to get off whilst holding on my crutches (I also have cerebral palsy) at the same time, when a beautiful lady asked me if I needed any help, to which I replied sure if u don’t mind. I was surprised to find out that she lived in the same apt building as I did… needless to say we have been together ever since… we got married on October 6th of 2010 & we are very happy!!


Joshua and LydiaJoshua and Lydia

I first met my sweetheart on the 33 in Milwaukie. The first time I saw her, I felt something magical and powerful. The second time I met her on the bus; I knew I would marry her and told her so. Each time we met I brought her flowers, tea, or liquor-filled chocolates. She has completely revitalized my life and if it weren’t for the frequent service of the 33 then we may not have had this chance to meet each other. We continue to flourish today and our Love thrives. Thanks Trimet


Liz Strom-Deason

My name is Liz, and here is my story.

David said worked at the Fred Meyer at Beaverton Town Square. I worked at the Ice cream shop next door. At nights, I would head to the 24 hour cafe on hall, Ava Roasteria.

So one day at work, I go to freddies deli for lunch. He tells me over or usual nerdy small talk that he needs a new roommate. He’s adorable, nerdy, has a wonderful skills, and a true unique personality about him, so I developed a fast crush on him.

Later that night, I caught the bus to Ava’s. He was standing at the bus stop waiting for me.

About a month later, were early in our romance. I worked out in Hillsboro then. He called and asked me what stop ID number I got off the bus at. An odd question, but I answered. Four hours later, he was waiting ask the way out at hillsboro transit center with sack lunches. We ate and lunch together on the max on or way back home, and cuddled a little bit too.

Nowadays, nine months later, we track the arrival time for each others busses home from work and meet each other at the transit centers. Its always the best part of my day, holding his hand and walking through the grassy field at Beaverton transit center, or getting off the bus at hillsboro transit center and sering him there, and we wait for the max together. Or when we took or vacation. We took the max to pdx, and it felt like the last big of portland we’d have for a while. It was a relief to have max to take us home at eleven pm when we returned.

As I type this, I’m on the blue line, on my mytouch, listening to the slow dance that still be played on our wedding day.

Thank you.


Kathy Burgess

For over a year, I had secretly been catching an earlier Max train from Sunset Transit Center so that I could catch a glimpse of the man that my coworkers and I dubbed “Max Boy”. Every day, when I got to work, my coworkers would ask if I had talked to “Max Boy” yet. For a year, my answer was “No”. My coworkers plotted how I should start a conversation with him; even suggesting that I buy an extra coffee one morning and offer it to him, pretending that my friend didn’t show up to meet me. I wasn’t completely comfortable with that approach!

However, on my own one morning in October of 1999, I saw an open seat next to him and decided there was no time like the present to begin a conversation. As I sat there next to him (he reading a book, me looking through a magazine), I ran through a couple of scenarios in my head and finally opened with: “So where is the guy you are always riding with?”. He looked at from his book with a huge question mark and said “What guy?”. UGH… needless to say I kept the conversation going and over the next few weeks, we began to talk more and more when we saw each other, which eventually led to a lunch date since we both worked downtown.

In April of 2002, we were married and now have 2 beautiful little girls.

He is forever my “Max Boy”.