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Waco Love

Posted on Monday, January 17th, 2011.

Excited participants frequently ask us what kind of stories people tell in the StoryCorps MobileBooth. As Facilitators, it’s difficult to identify specific themes because we hear all kinds of stories on a wide variety of topics. In Waco, TX, however, I heard quite a few stories about love and first meetings.

Ruben and Rachel Salazar

Ruben and Rachel Salazar, Waco, TX

Ruben Paul Salazar, 39, met Rachel P. Salazar, 43, online, but in a very unusual way. On January 10, 2007, Ruben was at work checking his email. He noticed a message from someone he did not recognize and realized that he had been included in a chain of emails that were meant for someone else. Looking closely, noticed that the intended recipient, Rachel P. Salazar in Thailand, had an email address that, except for two digits, was almost identical to his. He forwarded this email it to its appropriate recipient and added a cheerful message:

“Hi Rachel. Hola prima, hello cousin! It seems as if this message came to me instead of you. I’m in Waco, TX, USA. It’s good to hear biodiversity is such an important topic around the world. Have a great day! -Ruben P. Salazar, Chicano, cyclist commuter, community artist. P.S. How’s the weather in Bangkok.?”

So began a long-distance exchange of emails that turned two strangers a world apart into friends. “I thought, here’s an interesting situation, let’s see how far I can take it,” Ruben told Rachel during their StoryCorps interview, explaining why he kept replying to her replies. Eventually those emails became online-chat conversations, that then became letters, that turned into phone calls. “I was really happy that I was making a new friend. It wasn’t everyday that I would meet another R.P. Salazar, especially not halfway around the world, ” said Rachel who is from the Philippines but was working in Thailand at the time.

“When I would be getting to work, you would be leaving work and I always felt it a little imposing on you and that I was preventing you from going home,” Ruben confessed, “but you stayed with me.” As their relationship grew, their conversations became more intense and serious, and it was not uncommon for them to spend six hours at an internet cafe or to have four-hour-long international phone calls.

Everything changed when Rachel, who had been planning a trip to the U.S. to see relatives in California, decided to stop first in Texas. After emailing and talking on the phone for eight months they finally met in person and spent eight days together in Waco. Two days before Rachel had to go back to California, Ruben proposed.

“Deep in my heart I knew it was coming. It was the right thing and it was the best thing,” she told him during their interview. Rachel said yes, and they got married on November 24, 2007 at a local Unitarian Church here in Waco. At the time of their StoryCorps they had just celebrated their three year anniversary!

12 Responses to “Waco Love”

To preserve the StoryCorps mission and experience for our readers and participants, comments are subject to the StoryCorps Terms of Service. Comments may be held for moderation or removed if deemed offensive or off-topic. Please do not resubmit your comment if you don't see it right away, it will be approved as soon as possible. Thank you.

  • I was in Waco 95-96. I like this story.

    Comment from Lan on February 17, 2012 at 11:39 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • I am happy to hear that their love story is still unfolding before them everyday of their lives. Rachel is a dear friend here in the Philippines and I was one of those fortunate friends of her to whom she had shared their unique and beautiful love connection personally… being a talented creative writer herself I thought I will be reading about her love story written by herself… well, it is still nice to read about it from another person’s pen output… Hi Bok! Hope all is well with you… great story… keep in touch… regards to Ruben…

    Comment from LFEvangelista on March 3, 2011 at 4:52 am - Reply to this Comment
  • This story is truly an inspiration to us all that sometimes love can be found in the most unexpected places under the most unexpected circumstances. I think the fact that they just kept with it is truly heart warming. That an e-mail sent to the wrong person could spark such a love is awesome and I wish them the best of luck in the future!

    Comment from Kimberly Marasky on February 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • This story is a touching example of how technology impacts every aspect of our lives, including our love lives! Fate it seems is also technically inclined, who knew? Just ask the Salazars! It also adds a human element to technology, and how we use technology to seek out other people and find a closeness which as we see here eventually brings people together physically. Its nice to know that long distance love can last.

    Comment from Michelle DeBrosse on February 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • That’s a great story and a wonderful way to meet your spouse: totally by accident! It is funny the way technology and human error can result in such a positive outcome. Such an event wouldn’t have been possible a generation ago, at least, not where both people are living so far away from one another.

    Comment from Richard on February 18, 2011 at 9:37 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • I was fascinated by the fact that a simple mistake bought these two people together. Technology now makes the world smaller and can be in contact with people around the globe.

    Comment from Jenny Ayala on February 18, 2011 at 6:46 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • great example of how the internet has changed the way we connect with the world around us. Congratulations to you both for making the most out of your email typo.

    Comment from John Thurwachter on February 18, 2011 at 9:16 am - Reply to this Comment
  • In the beginning, it’s an interesting story because they know each other accidentally by an email ! personally I like romantic stories with all of its kinds. There is an Arabic saying says “a coincidence is better then a thousand dates

    Comment from Hussain al-sada on February 11, 2011 at 11:19 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • This is a great example of how technology works in a positive way. It is a useful
    tool to explore other cultures and to meet new people. It is so true that one mistake can change your life. This time it was for the positive. It is so nice that people can form friendships and trust one another. One little mistake can change your life.

    Comment from John Strong on February 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • This is one example of how technolgy can be a postive thing. It opens up so many opportunities to explore new cultures and to meet new people. Many times you hear negative things about people meeting on line, but this time it is positve and a
    relationship built on trust. One little mistake can change everything.

    Comment from Jan Requa on February 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • This story was truly inspiring. The fact that you met because of a typo is just an example of fate. Most people would be weirded out by a stranger e-mailing them starting a conversation, but the fact that you continued to respond just shows that there are still good-hearted people in the world. best of luck!

    Comment from Marissa Yupari on February 11, 2011 at 11:48 am - Reply to this Comment
  • I don’t know how describe this as, an accident, a destiny, or the advantage of new technology. I really cannot say anything about destiny because I am dubious about it weather it is true or not. But many people strongly believe it to be right. I look at this as a sweet accident in the world of new technology. New technology especially Internet made the world as a small village, so everybody has this ability to make connection with other people all over the world. In this story the characters became familiar and then friend and finally married. In my opinion, this story has a profitable message. If the people be honest, and use the new technology correctly, they will reach unbelievable advantages, No problem how far from each other.

    Comment from Dianoush Dinyarian on February 11, 2011 at 4:05 am - Reply to this Comment

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