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I Met Him In An UberPOOL & Now We're Married!

They say you never know where you'll find true love.

Love & Relationships

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!

Update:

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

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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