SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) -In the hit movie "Sleepless In Seattle", Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan find true love on Valentines day. A Utah couple lived a story that closely parallels that Hollywood movie.
It's a love story that started with a chance meeting in a Seattle airport, that left a man sleepless until fate and ingenuity brought them together again.
Sam Baldwin sees Annie Reed in Sleepless In Seattle for the first time at SeaTac airport. Barry Aurich also met his wife Rita at the airport in Seattle. Like Sam, Barry was a single father. Rita, like Annie, was engaged.
Just like the Hollywood movie, there was no denying in a mere matter of moments what was right. "I was ready to find that right person, and here I am hundreds of miles away from home, and talk to this woman for a few minutes and realized this is it, I needed to find her.”
But, he realized it moments too late. "I was walking out to the airplane and just kicking myself thinking you didn't get her name, you didn't get her phone number, you have no way of finding her other than you know where she's from. "
Rita says she was also struck by the ten minute encounter. I’m like, and I sat there and thought why did I just meet this guy that I have more in common with than anyone I have ever dated in my life and just like that he's gone? "
Instead of a radio program, like Sleepless In Seattle, it was a an ad in her local paper that brought the two back together again. Barry knew where Rita was from, so he figured he had a shot at finding the woman who was giving him insomnia in the personal ads. “I started it out sleepless since Seattle please help me find a woman I met at SeaTac airport Tuesday night."
One of Rita’s friends brought it to her attention. "She finally ended up agreeing to have dinner with me if I flew up so we went out to dinner, and I flew back to Eugene and the next morning, she broke off her engagement."
They were married. Seventeen years later, Rita says they are still living happily ever after. “I really to this day cannot believe that it happened. I really still have to pinch myself."
Barry was living in Eugene at the time of their chance encounter, Rita had just moved from Boston to Yakima. The couple made their home here in Utah.