For Alissa Berg and Don Gold, it was love at first swipe.
Four years ago, Gold's morning commute involved riding the Brown Line to the Kimball stop and walking a few blocks to Northeastern Illinois University in North Park—until one day, he spotted the No. 82 Kimball/Homan bus heading his direction.
He hopped on the bus and saw Berg.
She had just taken the Brown Line and was riding the bus to her job at WTTW, the public TV studionear Northeastern.
They both got off at the same stop. He held the door for her. Love was in the fare.
He began tailoring his schedule to ride the bus at about the same time she did.
She thought he was cute.
One day on the bus, he pointed to her WTTW tote and said, "So, you work for the station?"
They started talking. He asked for her phone number, and they went on a sushi date.
Three years later, as they were walking downtown by the Chicago River, he asked her another question. This one came with a ring.
Berg and Gold, who live in Wrigleyville, got engaged a year ago this month. They plan to marry in August at the Newberry Library. They say they owe the CTA for getting them to the aisle.
"I have always liked the 'L.' It's one of the best things about Chicago," said Gold, 33. "I'm definitely very grateful that I met Alissa on the bus."
Since their first encounter in 2009, Berg and Gold no longer commute together. Berg now rides the Purple Line, and Gold drives. They haven't taken the No. 82 bus in a while, but Berg said she would like to take some engagement photos at "their stop."
For her part, Berg said she has endured some light teasing for the way she met her fiance. Before then, she was never much for talking to others on the CTA, telling Going Public, "it could have been really creepy if he wasn't so cute."
Now, she recommends being friendly to other riders.
"I would say definitely smile at people. Just smile at someone," said Berg, 30. "You never know. That's kind of how it started with us."
A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note
This week: Sedgwick Brown Line
The problem with this Brown Line stop isn't the stop itself—it's the stop-and-go on the way to the stop. Trains traveling near the Old Town stop run 15 miles per hour. This station is in the middle of slow zones that stretch from Merchandise Mart to the Armitage station. Work on these slow zones, which includes track replacement, is expected to begin in March and run through 2015. The CTA will focus on these areas while the city reconstructs the Wells Street Bridge, a project that will require two nine-day CTA line shutdowns this spring.
Next up: Kedzie Pink Line
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