They say you never know where you'll find true love.
You just have to be open and ready for it when it comes knocking on your door. I learned this after I found love in an Uber.
Yes, you heard that right! On May 14, 2015, while riding in uberPOOL for the first time in Los Angeles, California, I met the love of my life, Lester.
At the time, I was in LA visiting from Atlanta for a month in an attempt to follow my dreams of becoming a model. I spent my days auditioning and visiting agencies, but on this particular day, I was at a live band recording at a Beverly Hills home studio with some friends before I contacted Uber to take me back to my Airbnb in West Hollywood.
I had never really even used Uber before, and of course I messed up and clicked the wrong car: uberPOOL. UberPOOL is the service that allows you to share your ride and split the fare with another Uber rider who's going in the same direction. Initially I was too terrified to ride with a stranger, but then I thought about the buck or two I'd save.
“What the heck?" I asked myself. “It's too late now."
When the Uber arrived, I immediately spotted this handsome man in the backseat. So I did what any other interested woman would do: I sat in the front seat with the Uber driver. Honestly, I was just way too nervous to sit in the back with a total hot stranger so I opted to sit next to the more familiar one, one with whom I could match a name and face to on an app.
The Uber driver made small talk as he drove us to our destinations, asking questions like, “What are you doing tonight?" Clearly he had an agenda and figured I wasn't going to say anything because he formally introduced me to my backseat passenger, Lester. I found out that Lester was also visiting Los Angeles, but from Detroit only for the weekend, and he was en route to Hollywood to help celebrate his godbrother's birthday.
As we approached my Airbnb, the driver shot me a sly grin. “You guys should exchange phone numbers," he said. And we did.
I didn't know if we'd stay in contact after that, but to my surprise we connected shortly afterward through texts and met at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles the next day. From there, we went our separate ways and I was able to see him again weeks later while visiting a relative in Detroit. We kept the communication lines open by FaceTiming and talking on the phone when we were apart. But our first official date was four months after our uberPOOL ride when he stopped off in Atlanta during a layover.
I picked him up from the airport, and I took him to Spondivits since he loves seafood. I wanted our date to be special, but it turned out to also be surreal.
Lester was a perfect gentleman. He opened my doors, he was attentive, and he was engaged in our conversation. I felt his energy through his gaze, laugh, and words. We truly enjoyed each other's company and were extremely pleased to finally get to know one another in person. It was at that moment that we both knew we were headed towards a serious commitment.
After our Atlanta date, I was even more smitten by him.
Lester inspired me to grow in every aspect of my life, with God, my dreams, and my family.
A month later, Lester visited me and met my family. Once I saw him interact with my mom and my sister, I knew he was a keeper, and we made our relationship official.
Now, 11 months from our initial meeting, I can say we're in the best relationship of our lives. After many flights between Chicago and Atlanta, we've decided that I'd move to Chicago where he currently resides since I have the freedom to pursue my career from anywhere. Although I'm nervous as heck and Atlanta has been my home and support system for 12 years, I realize that it's time for me to start living my life. I know my life begins with him.
This experience has definitely taught me that love isn't always found in the most traditional places: at the bar, at work, in the supermarket, in church, or even on a dating site.
We may have guidelines and fantasies of how we think our love stories should go, but they don't always materialize as planned. I've truly learned that we need to remain open, follow our intuition, and take more chances.
I almost changed my mind about traveling to LA, but my gut told me to just go because it was for my dream career. So, instead of canceling my flight and postponing my dream, I went anyway, only to find true love in the back of a taxi.
As of January 20, 2017, Lester and I are now engaged! He proposed to me in Cartagena, Columbia two days before his birthday! (FYI, my hair was down before the proposal, but he made fun of me so I braided it up, haha sneaky thing.)
He proposed on the rooftop of our Airbnb during dinner. The chef brought out this cake box and she insisted on handing it to me. I kept telling her, "No, it's not my birthday, it's his," and pointing to Lester. He finally goes, "Babe, open it."
I open the cake box and it's a chocolate cake with roses on the side and a freaking ring box! I look over and there he is on one knee, reaching for my hand. He looks at me and says, "You've been the best part of me ever since I've known you and I can't see me spending the rest of my life with anybody else. So can you please do me the honor of marrying me?"
Of course, I said YES!
After getting engaged, Jenisa and Lester tied the knot in a little over a year later. On May 4, 2018, the pair started their forever together officially in a ceremony in Atlanta. If Jenisa and Lester's unforgettable love story proves anything, it's that there's nothing like God's plan or His timing for your life.
True love can find you when you least expect it, even in the back of an uberPOOL. Congratulations to the happy couple!
This article was originally published in 2015 but has since been updated.
Featured image via Jenisa's Instagram / Bianca Cherisse