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Nonstop Love: 800 Miles Mean Nothing When Someone Means Everything

Explorer C

She makes a spur-of-the-moment decision in October 2016 to fly from Atlanta, Georgia to attend her friend's wedding in Glen Rose, Texas. He attends the same wedding to support his sister Grace, who happens to be the maid-of-honor. Following a sweet ceremony, the rush of wedding photos, and a few traditional dances, the desperate need for laughs and sugar quickly sets in. She wanders aimlessly around the reception, making instant friends with strangers she’ll never see again.


He casually catches up with old acquaintances that he, also, will probably not see again for a while. Then, in the cupcake line no less, she and he stumble upon the only conversation that will come to matter that day. With a few Shrek quotes to break the ice and a few more corny jokes to get comfortable, they both feel a breath of fresh air that would pass all too quickly. A simple goodbye doesn’t feel right, but he has to rush off, so she leaves it at a most anticlimactic, “What happens in Texas, stays in Texas.”


It does not stay in Texas. In fact, it ends up stretching across the better part of two years—much of that time spent in the air and on Southwest runways—doing everything but staying in one place.


We are Ansley and Sam, and this is our story.


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Although we hit it off at the wedding reception, there was one hitch. Ansley had somehow missed the part where Sam was Grace’s brother, and spent the rest of the conversation thinking Sam had been Grace’s date to the wedding. Trying to show respect to one another, we both just enjoyed the conversation thinking we would never see each other again.


That night, Ansley reached out to Grace in her search for a church to attend the next day. Grace responded regretting that she couldn’t drive her, but that she would be excited to have her there. As Ansley was looking up Uber prices, she received a text from a familiar face saying, "Hey this is Sam from the wedding. I hear you need a ride to church—I can pick you up!"


In complete awe of how nice this guy was being, and how great Grace was for lending her boyfriend out for free rides, Ansley was about to tell him not to go out of his way when Sam texted back, "My sister, Grace, gave me your number."


800 Miles_Photo 8.jpgAnsley was unaware of how much she was rooting for Sam to be single until a huge smile spread across her face. She ran into the next room and announced it to the rest of the house. She even texted her sister that night, saying, "Going to church with a cute Texas boy tomorrow! #prayhard!" All in good fun, because, again, what happens in Texas, stays in Texas ... right?


Sam picked her up that next morning, but he wasn’t letting it go that easily. He didn't want this girl to disappear after just a few hours together. He kept stretching out time, taking her to spend the afternoon with Grace and their family, eventually making sure that he was the one dropping her off that evening. They sat in the driveway talking for at least an hour, and Sam told Ansley that he would be the one to drop her off at the airport later that week for her return flight to Atlanta. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. 


That Wednesday, Sam picked her up at 2 a.m. to take her to the airport for her red-eye flight from Dallas back to Atlanta. This would become the first of many she would take over the next few years. He had tea and a snack in the car for her; he was ready. He drove her to the airport with one goal in mind—he had something important to say. As she got out of the car, he grabbed her by the shoulders and said one thing: "Please stay in touch. That's all I ask." Her words in return?


"I'll do my best. I’m not that great at texting back."


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But she did, indeed, keep in touch. In November, she took a leap of faith and flew back to Dallas. Sam and Ansley talked through everything going through their heads. They decided to start a long distance relationship, knowing full well it was going to be a long road—an 800 mile road, to be exact. They had no idea how long it would be or where it would take them, but they were ready to give it a try!


Over the next year and a half, they continued to fly back and forth to each other. These weekends were short moments of relief from missing each other. Then, they would dejectedly board a plane to return to their respective cities. The flights were a comfortable respite—the free snacks and inflight TV always providing small comforts to distract them from the fact that it would be another month or so until they saw each other again.


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Fast forward to July 2018. They decided they were ready to get married. Thankfully, an inexpensive flight had popped up for the weekend of July 13 (Friday the 13th, ironically enough), and so Sam flew out to Atlanta to surprise Ansley with a proposal. She said yes, and now they are set to tie the knot on November 18, 2018!


Just like a friendship where you don't realize how much someone means to you until you've already been friends forever, Southwest Airlines has always been there for us. We've been grateful for them as a Company, and they've been supporting our relationship without even knowing it!


Southwest’s inexpensive flights and reliable Crews have taken us safely between Dallas and Atlanta for nearly two years now. The night before we were set to take our engagement photos in Texas, Ansley called Sam to share a crazy idea. "Let's take our engagement photos at the airport. Flying back and forth has been our relationship." So we did. The fact that Southwest's Station in Dallas is called Love Field was just the icing on the cake.


To Southwest, thank you for bringing us together. We've used the hashtag #800MilesAintNoThang for most of our relationship. But we were truly able to make 800 miles feel like a breeze thanks to affordable and convenient flights, along with the added perks of Southwest's Rapid Rewards program.


On November 16th, Sam will finally travel to Atlanta in something other than a plane—he‘ll be driving a moving truck. We will continue to be faithful Southwest Customers for years to come, but we can wholeheartedly say that we're glad one thing has changed: we can finally buy two plane tickets at a time.


*Photos provided by Jewell Allene Photo.


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From all of us at Southwest, congratulations to Sam and Ansley on their special wedding weekend! We are thrilled to have played a small part in your story, and can't wait to see you both on your next trips—this time, traveling together.

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