Dorie and Tom Rickard

In 1994, Dorie and Tom lived one mile away from each other in Charlotte, but didn't meet until they took a trip to Key West, Fla., with a scuba club. Dorie tells their story:

The third wheel: Tom was a member of the Charlotte Scuba Club, and so was my friend Kathy. Kathy encouraged me to go with her and her boyfriend on a Labor Day trip to Key West with the club. I was the third wheel. Tom was on the trip with a couple from work, so he was a third wheel, too.

The pool: The day we arrived in Key West, I met Tom on the beach. That night, the whole group went out to Sloppy Joe's bar, and Tom and I hit it off. We partied until the wee hours – when the sun came up, we were in the hotel pool, talking.

The beer: The thing that impressed me about him was that he was so genuine and not like any man I had ever met. What impressed him about me was that when the club went scuba diving, I went snorkeling by myself, met some friendly fishermen and returned to the boat with a half-can of Miller Lite. My friend Kathy said, “Only you could go out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and come back with a beer from some fishermen.”

The cats: When we got back to Charlotte, Tom and I had our first date at the Melting Pot Restaurant. Two years later, he proposed to me there. We were married in October 1996 and live happily in the Matthews area with our four cats.

Kathy Haight