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Sleepless since Seattle: Ad brings couple together after airport meeting


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Romance doesn't happen the way it does in the movies…usually. Sometimes, though, romantic comedies do come true.

One night in 1994, Barry Aurich was en route from Mexico to his home in Eugene, Oregon. Rita Weddle was returning home from a business trip to her home in Yakima, Washington. They landed on a brief layover at the Seattle-Tacoma airport.

Weddle took a seat next to Aurich and the two began talking.

"At first I didn't want to talk to him," she said, "but he was so alive and so charming and so different than anyone else I'd ever met."

"I realized that she was intelligent and that she was spiritual: just the type of person that I pictured myself being with some day," Barry said.

And then it was time for Aurich to board his flight.

I'm walking out to the airplane thinking 'You idiot! You didn't get her name,'" Aurich said. "'You don't know her phone number. How are you gonna find her?'"

"And I was like ‘Why did that guy leave?'" Rita said. "He didn't even ask my name."

He was a single dad. She had on-again, off-again engagement. They had a chance encounter at the SeaTac Airport. It sounded a lot like a Hollywood romance entitled, "Sleepless in Seattle," which premiered the year prior.

"And I actually couldn't sleep that night. I laid awake thinking about (Rita)," Barry said.

So, Barry decided to place a classified in the Yakima newspaper. "Sleepless since Seattle," the ad said.

"Please help me find a woman I met at SeaTac airport." A friend of Rita's saw the ad and called her. It was an ad from the man who never asked her name at the airport.

"And I could not believe my eyes," Rita said. Rita called Barry and they talked ... a lot. For a few days, Rita said they spent four to five hours on the phone with one another, locked in conversation.

It was meant to be. About a month and a half after they first met at the airport, Barry and Rita were engaged and a month after that, they were married. Seventeen years later, the movie script ending continues.

"You always want to find somebody who makes you a better person, that completes you, that makes you better than you can be by yourself," Rita said. "And I feel like that's what we've found with each other."

Barry Aurich is an air traffic controller. Rita Aurich used to be in financial services but now writes books. She's written a children's book, a romance novel and is now working on another book about her own love story.

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Peter Rosen

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