“You have to meet my friend Carla Rami,” Danny O’Neill’s new Lebanese friend, Annette, told him.
It was the fall of 2000, and Danny, 41, wasn’t too interested in meeting someone. But Annette didn’t give up. When Carla moved to New York from Beirut, Lebanon, Annette urged Danny to visit her there.
Danny finally gave in. He had a meeting in New York in July 2001, so he agreed to connect with Carla then.
As July approached, Danny grew nervous. He called a buddy in Bogota, Colombia, and said, “You have to come to New York with me.”
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The two men took Carla, then 32, out to dinner and the theater. After the play, Danny told his friend, “You can leave now.”
Danny: “Carla was attractive and elegant. Though she was quiet, I was interested in her right away.”
Carla: “Danny was handsome, and I liked how outgoing, interesting and well-traveled he was.”
The unfolding: Danny and Carla spent the next two days together. Then Carla visited Danny in Kansas City.
In September, when Danny heard about the World Trade Center attacks, he drove nonstop to New York, loaded up Carla and her parents, who were visiting from Lebanon, and brought them to Kansas City for a week. By August 2002, Carla had moved in with Danny.
The proposal and wedding: Every morning, Danny made Carla coffee. On April 13, 2003, he brought in the coffee tray as usual, but Carla’s cup was upside down. Danny knelt on one knee, asked Carla to marry him, then lifted the cup to reveal an engagement ring. They were married on Sept. 13, 2003, on Sanibel Island, Fla.
Favorite shared activities: They love being surrounded by people. They also love Kansas City and enjoy traveling, watching movies and reading quietly.
Careers and family: Danny is “Bean Baron” and founder of The Roasterie coffee company. Carla manages the household and is a community volunteer. They live in Brookside with their two children, ages 6 and 8.
What keeps their relationship strong: They’re committed to their Wednesday date night. They’re also committed to integrating their children into their lives; the kids have experienced 20 international trips. “We have nonstop family time, and we love it,” Danny says.
The qualities they most appreciate in each other:
Danny: “I love Carla’s patience, elegance and her strong family orientation. She is always ready for life.”
Carla: “I love Danny’s big personality, his passion and the way he adores change. There’s not a single boring moment in our life.”
Deborah Shouse is a freelance writer. Suggest a Love Story couple by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.