Fender Bender Romance

By: Sarah Vahlkamp

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The great thing about love is that you may not be looking for it, yet find it right around the corner.

Bret Shevlin ’08 and Lori Knollenberg ’11 could not have had a better chance meeting than one fateful day at the corner of 18th and Spruce. It was late February, and Bret was driving home after attending a writing workshop. On his way down 18th Street, he came upon a van going in the opposite direction. As he passed the Quincy University Stadium, a red car that had been waiting at the corner pulled out after Bret had passed without seeing the van, clipping the rear end. Bret had seen the accident in his rear view mirror, and began to wonder if he should turn around.

His conscience soon got the better of him and he parked his car to check on the people involved in the accident. When he approached, he saw a young woman holding her front bumper in the street. The elderly couple who were driving the van had also gotten out, but everyone involved seemed to be only concerned rather than hurt.

Bret called the police and waited with the young woman and elderly couple until help arrived. He gave his information as a witness, and was told he was free to leave.

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“I will admit, I have ‘white knight’ syndrome’- I feel like I should help people in their time of need, and this situation was no exception,” Shevlin said.

As the officer was collecting information from the elderly couple, Bret decided to check again on the young woman. She told him her name, and he made sure she was okay. They exchanged contact information, “but not for the reason of trying to pick up a girl, as most people (including some members of my family) assumes one would do,” Shevlin said.

As the officer approached Lori to take her statement, Bret decided it was time to leave before being told to leave again by the officer. However, while he did leave the scene, Lori never left his mind. The two could not stop thinking about each other and three days after the accident, Lori reached out to Bret through Facebook which led to their first date about a month later.

After dating for more than a year and a half, Bret decided to modify his master plan of proposing to Lori. He had first planned to take her to all their favorite parks throughout the day but soon decided a different location would better suit his intentions. He woke Lori from her nap, and told her that a friend of theirs was wanting to attend a game at the QU Stadium. She agreed to go, and the two drove to the stadium.

As expected, they arrived to an empty parking lot where they both noted there was no game going on. Lori began asking questions about the whereabouts of their friend and became increasingly excited. Bret led her to the corner of 18th and Spruce where they had first met, and proposed.

“(I) went into a speech that I had practiced multiple times, yet somehow I still forgot most of it because I had butterflies in my stomach!” Shevlin said.

Lori excitedly said yes, and Bret and Lori Shevlin later married on October 13th, 2012, at Holy Family Parish in Lincoln, Illinois.

“This, forevermore, to me and Lori, is definitive, solid proof that God exists- though we are both devout Catholics and didn’t necessarily need the proof to believe- because only God could have brought two complete strangers together in such a unique way that has led to a marriage going on over three years, and expecting our first child together,” Shevlin said.

The couple is expecting their first child on August 6th, and have picked out the name Tobias Edward Shevlin. They will be celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary later this year, and Bret would just like to add, “I love you Lori, my darling wife.”

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