If you’ve ever had an unrequited crush on a stranger who seemingly doesn’t know about your existence, good news — you have a chance! At least, if you’re anything like this woman who fell in love with a man she always saw on her morning commute, you may. But trust me, it wasn’t easy.
Zoe Folbigg first noticed the handsome stranger in July of 2003 when she was waiting for her usual morning train. They happened to get into the same car, but he didn’t even look at her — he was too busy reading his book. Still, he left quite the impression on Zoe, who could never quite forget him.
“I thought he was the most beautiful man I had ever seen,” Zoe told the Sun. “It was definitely love at first sight for me. I know that sounds crazy but that’s how I felt.”
But what really felt like fate was that after that day, she saw the man — who she affectionately nicknamed “Train Man” — every day on her commute. She started dressing up in hopes of catching his eye, but unfortunately, it wasn’t that simple.
Every day she hoped he would look at her. Every day, he was too engrossed in his book.
Soon enough, her co-workers all knew about Train Man and would ask her about him daily. They encouraged her to talk to him, but Zoe didn’t quite have the confidence. At least, not yet.
With the help of her co-workers, she came up with a “sneaky” plan to grab his attention — she dropped her train ticket in front of him and planned to start up a conversation when he gave it back to her. But instead of acting how she expected him too, Train Man acted like he didn’t notice her ticket at his feet at all. Eventually, he did hand over her ticket, but Zoe had lost her confidence and had merely thanked him.
But nearly a year after she first saw him, she knew she had to do something. So on her birthday, she wrote him a hand-written letter that read:
“It’s my birthday and I think everyone should do something frivolous on their birthday and this is my thing. I think you look lovely. If you’d like to go for a drink here’s my email address, if not happy travels and I’ll leave you in peace.”
… But, again, she was too nervous to act. She didn’t hand him the letter until 11 days later.
The day she gave him the letter, she spent the whole day wracked with nerves. She didn’t hear from him till 5 p.m., when she received an email from a man named “Mark”, and her stomach dropped when she read the reply:
“Thank you, that was a lovely thing to do. I’d never have the guts to do something like that, but unfortunately I have a girlfriend and I don’t think she’d like it if we went for a drink. Happy birthday. Hope you have a nice day.”
So Zoe moved on — at least, she tried to. She saw other men, but none made it past the first date. She was still engrossed in Train Man, who she still saw on her commute every morning.
But in January 2005, things changed. Eight months after she’d handed the letter to Train Man, she received another email from him saying he had been single for a few months and wanted to get that drink with her.
“It was the best email I’ve had in my entire life,” Zoe said. “I squealed and all my mates were so excited.”
And the date went better than she could have imagined — it wasn’t awkward at all, and the two immediately clicked. Three months later, they were living together. Three years later, on a trip to Australia, they were on a train together when he asked her to marry him.
The couple is now married and has two sons together, and Zoe decided to use their relationship as inspiration for her first-ever book: The Note. It’s about — you guessed it — a woman who falls in love with a man she sees on her daily commute, but who she’s too afraid to speak to until she hands him a hand-written letter.
So there you have it — sometimes your secret, unrequited crushes can become something more. You just have to have the confidence to do something about it.