When Canadian journalist Samantha Butler-Hassan invited her new co-workers to go hiking one fateful day in 2013, she did not expect she’d one day marry the single participant who showed up.
But on Oct. 4, she celebrated her sixth anniversary with Bilal Hassan, a software developer and former colleague who, in fact, was the sole attendant at the impromptu event.
To mark the day, Butler-Hassan took to Twitter to share details on the meet-cute in a post that has since racked up over 1.3M likes.
“7 years ago I worked at a small company of about 15 people. I sent an email to all my co-workers one Friday, inviting them on a weekend hike,” she tweeted. “Only one person came, a guy from the web dev team that I’d [hardly] spoken to. Today is our 6th wedding anniversary. We’re going hiking.”
The pair’s saga began on Sept. 6, 2013, when Butler-Hassan, an Ontario resident who currently writes for the Kingstonist, sent an email to her then-colleagues at a small tech company to see if anyone wanted to go hiking with her over the weekend, she told In The Know.
“Hey all,” wrote Butler-Hassan, who was working as an account coordinator at the time, in her initial message. “The weather is supposed to [be] nice again on Sunday. I was wondering if anyone wanted to head out to Morton … to hike Rock Dunder.”
In her invite, Butler-Hassan described the “woodsy loop” as an hour-long trail, featuring a few “creepy abandoned cabins,” some swimming spots, and an “unreal” view from the peak. She also offered up three spots in her Mustang for the 45-minute drive to and from the location — but as enticing as the adventure sounded, she still only received one lone confirmation.
“I’m in!” Bilal answered.
Despite a paltry response to the initial email from the group, Butler-Hassan said that she still initially didn’t realize she and Bilal — who, at the time, was just a “guy from the web dev team” she’d “hardly spoken to” — would be the sole hikers on the trip.
“There were some maybes,” she recalled. “One other person bailed last minute.”
But still, the pair handled the unexpected one-on-one time with grace and had a notably wonderful time together.
“The hike was so much fun,” Butler-Hassan told In The Know. “We talked about life, politics, relationships, our families. It was just easy. We immediately hit it off.”
Of course, being co-workers at a 15-person company complicated things, and, at first, neither Butler-Hassan nor Bilal planned on pursuing a relationship.
“We played it cool as friends for another month or so after [the hike],” she explained, “until we both admitted to each other that we wanted to date.”
The following February, the pair got engaged, just five short months after their first (mildly accidental) date.
“A lot of people thought we were crazy,” Butler-Hassan remarked. “We knew it was crazy fast, but also had no doubts, and we still feel the same way.”
Although the couple has since moved on to other places of employment, neither of them will forget the company and the colleagues that brought them together.
“Our co-workers were incredibly supportive and threw us an engagement party right away,” said Butler-Hassan. “Some of our best friends are people we worked with there, and we still hang out regularly.”
Not lacking a sense of humor, one of those colleagues even printed out the infamous “hike invite” email, framed it and gave it to the pair as a wedding gift.
“It’s hanging in our bedroom,” the journalist revealed.
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