The Donovan family.

A few weeks ago, David tweeted photos of his daughter’s first trip on a Chapel Hill Transit bus—the same buses where he and Ashley met in the early 2000s. They shared their story with us.

Tell me how y’all met.

Ashley: I got on the bus heading back from class one day. We went one more stop down, and David got on. I was eyeing him, because, ya know, good-looking man. The bus was pretty crowded so I was sitting down, but he had to stand. He and I started making eyes at each other, and a few more stops later he sat across from me. He kind of put his sunglasses down like he was gonna play it cool, and look at me but I wouldn’t know, but I totally knew what he was doing. 

We ended up at the first stop to Chapel Ridge [Apartments]. I usually get off at the second stop, but I could tell he was about to get off. I thought to myself, ‘Maybe he’ll talk to me,’ so I got off. We walked across the street and he came up with the best pickup line ever: ‘So, you live in Chapel Ridge, too?’

David:  This was 2006—January 12, 2006—and we ran to this brand-new, relatively unheard-of thing called Facebook. 

We’d gotten each other’s first names but no last names, and through a bit of Facebook and the student directory, I found her Facebook page. We both made it a point to be on the bus again the next Thursday and we were on the same route again at the same time. 

There was a seat open next to her, so I sat down, started talking. I don’t remember what my pickup line was that time, but presumably it was not as memorable. I asked her out on a date, and we went out that night; we had a great first date and the rest is history.

There’s one other funny part of this: I had applied for a parking pass on campus. Didn’t get it, and so the reason why I was on the bus was because I did not get the parking pass. So, as I tell people, it’s a story of love, of romance, a story of public transit, but also a story of parking scarcity and how important that is.

How was it taking your daughter for the first time on Chapel Hill Transit? 

David: This was the first time on the bus, and as you can see, she loved it.

Ashley: We took some engagement pictures on the buses, and we took some pictures of our pregnancy announcement in Chapel Hill, and we did some of the bus, too. It was sweet, we always got the driver’s permission—‘Hey can we stand in the doorway for just a second?’ We don’t want to make them late, but it’s neat that we’re able to do that.

David: She was excited, once we got her on the bus.

Ashley: She was a little nervous before.

David: She was, but then we could move around a little bit. It was a very different experience. She talked about how fast it was going. She was just looking out the window, enchanted at everything.

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