Couple Court in CLT Rocking Chairs

When Lisa and Charles Allen tell the story of how they met, people sometimes don’t believe them. That’s because it sounds like something out of a movie. But this is a real-life fairy tale, happy ending and all, and it began once upon a time at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

“I was walking out of the restroom and we literally, physically ran into each other,” Lisa said. “My briefcase fell open and my belongings kind of flew everywhere. As we both squatted down to pick up my stuff, I looked up and said to myself, ‘Oh wow, he’s cute.’”

Totally a rom-com moment, right?

When Charles Met Lisa

It was a beautiful Monday morning in the fall of 2019. Lisa and Charles were both headed from CLT to California for work. Storms elsewhere delayed their flights, and they were waiting in the American Airlines Admirals Club.

“I had a big presentation in Monterrey that day,” Lisa said. “I was feeling a little stressed because of the delay and went into the ladies room to regroup. As I was walking out, we ran into each other.”

“I think you ran into me,” Charles joked. “My mom taught me to be a good, Southern boy, so I had to help her. Then, she smiled, and I was like, ‘Oh wow. I’ve gotta get her phone number.’”

They ended up sitting at the bar for more than three hours, talking about life and their kids. Between them, they have five adult children. Before boarding their flights, they tried to make plans to see each other again, but they lived in different cities and traveled often for work.

Rocking Chair Courtship

“He was in South Carolina, and I was in Charlotte,” Lisa said. “We found it was easier for us to meet at the Airport and on the road since we both traveled so much.”

“It’s kind of funny because we did date in the rocking chairs,” Charles said. “We would sit in the Atrium and just talk, maybe have sushi or a cocktail and plan our next meeting.”

They would coordinate their work trips, get to CLT early and schedule layovers to spend time together. Then they would meet for the weekend somewhere like Los Angeles, Chicago and Austin.

“It sounds very glamorous talking about it now,” Lisa said. “That was before COVID.”

Grounded by the Pandemic

“March 17. We both got grounded on the same day,” Charles said.

After six months of dating while traveling, the couple really didn’t know what their relationship was going to look like moving forward. All they knew is they wanted to be together.

Charles asked Lisa if she wanted to come down to Hartsville for the weekend. That’s about two hours south of Charlotte.

“So, I brought my two little dogs and thought, ‘Well, we’ll figure this out pretty quickly. He’s either going to like the dogs and not like me or vice versa,’” Lisa said.

Charles liked the dogs and spending time with Lisa.

They went from seeing each other every week or two to being together all the time.

“We would spend evenings with a bottle of wine, listening to music, devoting hours making dinner,” Charles said. “We were the strange ones who really enjoyed being locked down.”

“We realized really quickly that we enjoy being together a lot versus traveling all the time,” Lisa said.

A Complete Life Change

Lisa and Charles decided to get off the road permanently. That involved selling their homes, moving to a new city and getting new jobs.

“We got married in 2022 at a resort in Arizona where we had our third or fourth date,” Charles said.

“That sounds really bad!” cried Lisa.

Smiling, Charles said, “It was a significant trip for us. That was probably a turning point in our relationship.”

“That’s when I decided I had fallen in love with you,” Lisa said.

Their New Adventure

Back in the rocking chairs at CLT, holding hands and looking back on their Airports courtship, Lisa and Charles joke about who bumped into who. They are thankful that fate and delayed flights brought them together.

“All these memories and emotions start flooding back in. It is really quite beautiful to think about,” Lisa said.

“It was unusual the way we started, there’s no doubt about it,” Charles said, swaying in a rocking chair next to his bride. “But it kind of feels natural. It just fits.”

Lisa and Charles say they hope to create a rocking chair porch on their home outside of Charlotte.

The couple still loves to travel for fun. This summer they are taking a trip to Italy via CLT.

Before their flight takes off, you’ll find them in the rocking chairs.