Karen Lynch and Rick Hayward hit it off instantly after a great first date at the local bowling alley when they were high school students. Like most girls, Karen felt giddy with excitement after a brilliant first date and looked forward to seeing what Rick's next move would be.
But as is so often the case with dating, it's never straightforward, so you can only imagine her confusion when Hayward never called her.
It was certainly a kick in the guts for a young Karen, but she picked herself up, and both moved on with their lives.
However, a full 33 years later, Lynch finally received an answer.
The date occurred in Pennsylvania in the late 1970s, and back then, the only forms of instant communication available was a landline telephone, so it was probably quite easy to go under the radar if you didn't want to see that person again but didn't have the guts to tell them in person.
Yes, for a young Karen Lynch, she found herself in a confusing and dispiriting situation, and no doubt wondered what she had done to cause Hayward not to call her again.
As time passed, however, Lynch and Hayward eventually married and had kids with different partners though perhaps in a strange twist of fate, both got divorced and in 2010, Lynch finally discovered why one of her very first crushes hadn't asked her on a second date.
Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, the pair reconnected, and Karen was given a long-awaited answer.
After messaging each other on the social media platform, Karen received an unexpected call from Rick, and it was then that he revealed why it had taken him 33 years to call.
"When I saw Karen on Facebook again I started thinking of maybe what could have been,” Hayward admitted when being interviewed about the remarkable story on the Rachael Ray Show in February 2017. “I finally got up the courage to ask her out on a second date 33 years later.”
Yes, it turns out Rick was a good man after all because despite having a great first date, he admitted he suffered terribly from shyness which meant he was always too nervous to pick up the phone and ask her out again- despite attempting to on numerous occasions.
“I wanted to go out with her again," he said, "but I was very shy in high school. Every time I went to pick the phone up I chickened out. Weeks went by…”
“I finally said, ‘I can’t call her now. It’s been far too long since that date and she’s gonna be mad at me for not calling her.’ So, I gave up,” he candidly recalled.
It seemed that it just wasn't meant to be and both probably thought it happened for a reason. But 33 years on, it appears they were made for each other because, after just the second date, love soon blossomed.
"I knew I wanted to marry Karen,” Hayward added. “I took Karen to the jewelry store to do some ‘ring shopping.’” So what did he do? In yet another example of Hayward's sweet-natured persona, he got a shopping assistant to ask Karen, who was busy trying on some merchandise, to try on a ring.
“She says, ‘Here, why don’t you take a look at this one,’ and hands it to me. And I stuck it on Karen’s finger and said, ‘Will you marry me?’”
Thankfully, Karen said yes, and the fairytale story was complete. “Rick is an incredible person," she gushed. "He’s a gentleman. Best of all, he’s my best friend. He just is everything that I was looking for and some of the things I didn’t even know I was looking for.”
And, as Rick explained, the feeling was mutual. "Karen brought love back into my life and made me feel whole again. I don’t think I really knew what ‘your other half’ meant until now.”
But just when you thought the story couldn't get any better, media outlets caught wind of the story, and after Karen was whisked to New York for what she thought would entail a spot of wedding-dress shopping, Rick had yet another awesome surprise up his sleeve.
Escorting his wife-to-be into a limo, the chivalrous gentleman handed Karen an iPad. On it was a ready-loaded video from none other than Rachel Ray.
Expressing her happiness for the couple, Ray offered to host the wedding on her very own show the next day!
As you can imagine, the following 24 hours were as stressful as they were exciting, but once Karen was reassured that her best friend Dorie Perdie would be in attendance having been reunited with her in the Big Apple. the plans went swimmingly, and the couple exchanged vows in front of an awe-struck and emotional audience on Valentine's Day.
To top things off, the TV host also laid on a luxury honeymoon for the couple in a luxury resort in Mexico where they had access to a private beach, a golf course, and all-day room service!
For these two lovebirds, it appeared that the Universe conspired with them so they could achieve love in its purest form, and as Lynch tearfully admitted to Rachel on the show. she didn't in her wildest dreams imagine she'd find a love quite as good as the one she now has with Ray. “We didn’t expect to find this at 50, especially when it was somebody that you knew all your life."
From everyone here at OMG Lane, we wish them nothing but the best!