August 2003. Noel Taxin, 33, pulled up at Salt Lake City International Airport and grabbed her bags from the car. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a man kissing a girl goodbye.
“I thought, ‘Oh he’s cute,’ ” she remembers, but he was a stranger and clearly in a relationship, so she pushed the thought away.
Little did she know that this man, Robert Moyer, a divorcee seven years her senior, had spotted her, too.
For Moyer, his upcoming flight was a culmination of a rough week. He’d just been laid off from his job and knew his three-month-long relationship was going nowhere.
“I just remember seeing this woman on the corner of my eye – cute, dark hair…” he recalls.
Cut to a couple of hours later and the two of them board their flight to New York City.
Coincidence 1: They’re on the same flight.
Coincidence 2: They’re just seats from one another.
“I sit down and I’m on the aisle and he comes on and he walks by me looks at me, smiles and sits right behind me,” says Taxin.
“I said, I’m going to make a point of talking to her,” says Moyer.
For Moyer and Taxin, this serendipitous, airplane meet-cute was the beginning of a 15-years-and-counting romance. They’d met their future spouse in the place they were least expecting it – 30,000 feet in the sky.
It was nearing midnight when the future couple boarded the airplane. Both of them had planned to use the red eye flight to catch up on some sleep.
But within minutes Moyer had introduced himself and they’d hit it off.
“I just was fascinated with her because she was so beautiful,” he says.
They realized they’d grown up 13 miles from one another in coastal New Jersey and shared a love of exploring the outdoors.
As the cabin crew began preparing the airplane for takeoff and the rest of the passengers dozed, Moyer – naturally spontaneous and outgoing – noticed that Taxin had a row to herself and asked if he could move up and sit next to her.
Taxin, more reserved and thoughtful, said yes: “But I was actually really nervous and I scooted all the way over to the window.”
For the entirety of the flight, that’s how they sat – sharing their life stories, hopes and ambitions and reveling in each other’s company.
“It’s funny how it charges you when you’re excited about meeting somebody nice and it was just, like, nice conversation,” says Taxin.
No alcohol, no caffeine and no food interrupted their flow.
“We were just drinking water and just really focused,” says Moyer. “I mean this is a five hour flight in the air and not once we yawned or got bored of each other– it was like this movie that just never stopped, that you just really like.”
Taxin adds: “We just started talking and really had a lot in common I guess and enjoyed each other’s talk. I know he said we talked all night, which we did.”
Still, Taxin wanted to address the elephant in the room – who was the woman Moyer had embraced before departure? Moyer reassured her that it wasn’t serious and was reaching a stalemate.
As for Taxin, she’d just come out of a seven-year relationship. “People were trying to set me up,” she remembers. “I’m really not going to date a bunch of people, I wasn’t at all sure.”
But with Moyer, something clicked.
When the plane landed, they walked together to get their bags, still exchanging stories. Eventually, it was time to say goodbye – Moyer asked for Taxin’s number and she gave it to him.
“Then he gave me a hug goodbye,” remembers Taxin. “It was good and it was nice.”
She exited the airport in a state of dazed happiness, heading to where her uncle was picking her up. She got into his car, beaming.
“Hey, what’s up, you seem all happy?” Taxin remembers him asking her.
“I just met this amazing guy,” She told him. “I think I’m going to marry him.”
For the two weeks that followed, Taxin and Moyer spoke constantly on the phone.
The conversation flowed naturally as they quizzed each other on their families, their views on life, their ambitions.
“Every night we spoke for about two hours,” says Moyer. “We couldn’t put the phone down and it was fun, just talking to each other about everything.”
Two weeks later, Taxin was already back in Utah. She offered to pick Moyer up from the airport.
“Oh my gosh I was really nervous because I was like ‘OK is he as good looking as I remember, do I really like him?’” Taxin says.
She knew they’d established a rapport and had lots in common, but an airplane encounter was such an unusual way of meeting someone. What if she was wrong?
Fortunately, when Moyer walked into arrivals, Taxin realized her fears were unfounded. Days later he was meeting her loved ones as her date to a family wedding.
“We dated for two years before we got married, so it wasn’t like we met and just got married right away,” she says. But she knew he was the one.
For Moyer, the realization that Taxin was his soul mate came a couple of months later, while celebrating Thanksgiving with her family.
“I knew then, when her family was around her at the dinner table,” he says.
But something in him was certain from the beginning – he tells CNN Travel he kept his airplane ticket to commemorate their meeting.
“We did a lot together before we got married, we traveled, we skied, we pretty much did everything. We really got to know each other very well before we actually got married – but we were in love with each other and it was fun,” he says.
The couple now have a 10-year-old son and the family spend their weekends exploring the outdoors – biking, skiing and adventuring with him in tow.
“I love my wife, I am very fortunate,” he says.
“We still have a lot of fun today.”
Lifetime of happiness
So what’s the secret to true love, whether it’s born on an airplane or on the ground?
“You can meet somebody and just know in your heart and your soul that it’s like a good match,” says Taxin. “He’s really talkative and outgoing and just full of life. Like, if he could ski and bike and play everyday he would and I enjoy working and I’m more of a serious person. But our personalities blend and balance each other.”
Moyer adds: “She must have really saw something in me because here’s somebody who is unemployed that she met and she’d fallen in love with.”
Moyer now works for Utah’s unemployment insurance division. Taxin directs programs which serve children with special health care needs throughout the state.
“Relationships are up and down, I mean not everything’s cloud nine, we had to work things out,” Moyer says. “But it’s really funny, I really remember in detail the whole time of meeting her on the plane.”
“We’ve been together for 15 years, which is pretty good, we still have a lifetime,” says Taxin. “But I think we’re both committed to that and I think it stems back to that communication that we opened up when we first talked.”
A recent study suggested there’s a 1 in 50 chance of meeting a future partner on a plane. Most of us don’t get on board an airplane looking for love, but perhaps we should.
After all, Taxin and Moyer’s love story is based on pure coincidence, as well as honest communication and connection.
They grew up in the same area, but a seven year age gap meant they never have crossed paths as kids. They went to the same orthodontist. He used to valet park her Grandma’s car. They worked at the same grocery store when they were young, but at different times. They’re even both convinced that they saw one another running in the park once, prior to their plane meeting.
But they didn’t meet in New Jersey, they met on an airplane flying from Utah – where they both ended up for college.
“It is kind of funny like different coincidences in life. How the energy force of life… we think our world is so big but there’s sometimes really interesting coincidences that occur,” reflects Taxin.
So do they think an airplane is a good spot for a budding romance?
“You’re there on a plane for so long,” says Taxin. “It worked out really well that we could really get to know each other […] depending how open they are, it’s like you can really get to know somebody pretty quickly.
“I honestly knew that he was going to be my future husband,” she says.