For Some Couples, a RIPTA Bus Means More than Just Transportation
February 6, 2023
Rhode Island Public Transit Authority buses make a lot of turns — through Providence’s narrow streets, onto Aquidneck Island’s towering bridges, and, occasionally, into the tunnel of love.
Jon and Brittany Dunne were transported to the land of romance one night in 2007 via a RIPTA shuttle at the University of Rhode Island.
Jon was a graduate student and Brittany was a senior at URI at the time. Both studied education and happened to end up in a class together.
The way Brittany remembers it, Jon always sat in the front of that class, wearing a baseball cap, “so I could never actually get a good look at him,” she said.
She still noticed him. He was “the funny guy,” always making jokes with the professor.
She never talked to him until one chilly, windy night after that class. Brittany was walking to her car at the commuter lot when she decided the cold was too much and hopped on the shuttle.
“Jon is already on it, sitting in the front row, just like you did in class,” Brittany said, looking over at her husband as she retold the story more than a decade later.
“I sat down next to him,” she said, “plopped myself there …”
“… and invited herself out,” Jon said, finishing her sentence.
It was Halloween night, and Jon told her that he and his grad student friends were heading out to Casey’s, a local bar that closed a few years ago.
“I repeatedly mentioned that my friend, Erica (thank you Erica, for standing me up) did not reply to my text message,” Brittany said, “kind of waiting for him to pick up on the opportunity to invite me out, and he didn’t.”
So when they got off at the parking lot, Brittany said she might see Jon and his friends later.
She did, and they stayed at the bar until midnight. Jon and Brittany went on their first real date a few days later.
“And it happened on the whole 10-minute bus ride down at commuter parking at URI,” Jon said.
They have been married for 12 years. They are both seventh-grade teachers: Jon teaches history and Brittany teaches English language arts. They have two kids: a 12-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.
When Jon and Brittany got married, they contemplated hiring a RIPTA bus to take their guests from the ceremony to the reception to commemorate their first meeting.
Instead, their wedding collage photos were captioned, “Thank God for RIPTA.”
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Beautiful story, Colleen, and beautifully written!