Triple Serendipity: A Love Story

2023-05-11 | By Orcam Staff

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Triple Serendipity: A Love Story - OrCam

Have you ever encountered a situation where even though you know it’s the first time you’ve met someone, you feel like your paths have crossed before? That’s exactly what happened to Robyn and Mark. They first encountered each other while working at the St. Louis Lighthouse for the Blind, but it turns out that they probably crossed paths before that. Twice.  In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked Robyn, our Community Ambassador and her partner Mark, both OrCam MyEye users, to share their incredible love story with us. Grab a tissue box and take a few minutes to read her heartwarming stroll down memory lane.

Fate In the Works

They both grew up in the same St. Louis suburb of University City, and lived down the street from each other twice, having lived in the same apartment complex with just one building between them.Later at a different address, Mark lived down the block from Robyn.

Robyn mentions, “My sister is 8 years older than I am and Mark is 4 so I never knew him at the time but my sister apparently knew some of the kids he knew so it is likely they crossed paths.”

A similar family history brought them closer together. When Mark found out they were both raised by single mothers and lived with their mothers and aunts at one point in time, Mark couldn’t believe it. “Come on, you’re joking!” were his exact words. 

Another shared aspect of their lives is that they’re both people with a visual impairment. While Robyn has been legally blind all her life, Mark has Retinitis Pigmentosa. Proclaiming a dark sense of humor, Robyn jokes that she had to blind Mark to catch him.  

In the nearly three decades they’ve been together, power couple Robyn and Mark have experienced much together: overcoming various medical challenges, losing their parents, the joys of raising a family and throughout it all, they never gave up on each other.

Mother holding her baby

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Ardent foodies, travel lovers and a common workplace are just a few things that brought Robyn and Mark together. 

Having been together for 28 years now, they’re both enjoying their best life in retirement, spending their time traveling and discovering new mouth watering foods together. 

“We both love to travel, our favorite place being Las Vegas because we are able to get pretty much anywhere we want to go.  We are also self-proclaimed foodies and love trying foods from different countries, especially when we can find the little mom-and-pop places where we typically befriend the owners.  A Russian friend once told us we lived in the wrong country because we like so much foreign food.”

The couple also love to learn about other cultures. As people with visual impairments, they rely heavily on ride shares to get around.

“We have met a lot of drivers from all over the world who have openly shared with us their customs and cultures.  We always feel like those services bridge barriers because when you are in a small space with strangers you interact with people you might have never had a chance to in your regular life.  We have been privileged to get acquainted with drivers from all over the world.”

Firm believers that people are more alike than different, Robyn and Mark love to hear about these people’s lives before moving to the US.  

“We have also had the privilege of meeting nurses, teachers, airline pilots, real estate investors, and chefs, all of whom drive for Uber and Lyft.  We find people love to talk about themselves and we love learning. Truthfully we will talk to anyone. We both like to read, although our tastes are quite different.”

Couple waling with a luggage

A Serendipitous Meeting

Before losing most of his vision, Mark worked as a security guard for 14 years. As his vision decreased he knew he had to find something new.  Prior to his work as a security guard he had jobs in retail and restaurants but those were not as feasible anymore once he lost most of his vision so he chose to work at St. Louis Lighthouse for the Blind, where Robyn worked too. The rest, as they say, is history. 

The First Date

Robyn and Mark’s first date ended up being a spontaneous double date. After that, spending time together became natural.

“We really didn’t have an official first date. It was more of a hey do you like the zoo, let’s all go kind of thing that we did go with another co-worker and his wife.  After that, we just started hanging out together. My son and I often went out to dinner with his family and eventually we started going to dinner on our own.” 

Robyn opened up about the family dynamics and how the families became an extension of each other. 

“My mom and aunt grew up poor and one of the things his family did every year for all of us was make two beautiful food baskets for Christmas and brought them to us.  My mom and aunt were in tears every single year and this made such an impression on them.  Both of our families got close and when my mother passed away his mom became my rock.  

cupple talking and holding hands on a table

How Falling in Love Changed Them

“I grew up around more visually impaired people, and Mark grew up around mostly sighted people so we often say that I taught him how to be blind and he taught me how to be more sighted. We compliment each other in that way. If I was afraid to do something he would just say, “stop worrying and just do it”. He pushed me to do a lot of things that I was cautious about and I taught him about blindness and that it didn’t have to stop you from living.”

The secret to a successful relationship, according to Robyn, is attentiveness, mutual respect and communication.

“We know each other so well and we listen to each other. We are very good at reacting to each other’s moods and giving each other space when needed.  Some things he likes drive me nuts and vice versa but we will often go to separate places to enjoy those things. He loves old radio shows which drive me insane so you often find me in the living room watching TV and him laying on the bed listening to old Gunsmoke radio dramas.”  

Even when dividing house chores, their differences seem to compliment each other. 

“I don’t mind cooking but I hate doing dishes so Mark is the designated dishwasher in the house. While that typically means rinsing and putting them in the dishwasher, I get in trouble if I do it because he is very organized where I am not, HA!”

Robyn and Mark on a park

Touching on religion and family cultures, Robyn and Mark feel heritage is important and needs to be respected.

“Mark and his family are Jewish and I am not. I am not all that religious, nor is he although he was raised orthodox Jewish. We do celebrate Christmas so we always have a Christmas tree and Christmas with my family. We also always have a menorah during Hanukkah. I think it is important to keep those traditions alive and respect family traditions while also making our own. We respect the traditions our families had.”

“The real secret is to just accept each other, support each other, give each other space. Accept you will never be able to change the person or ever be exactly alike. Most importantly, real love isn’t always what you dream about in movies. Sometimes it just happens in subtle ways. Your real soulmate may not make your heart flutter the minute you see them but you will know when it’s right.”