My husband and I recently spent 10 days in Los Angeles, reconnecting with dear friends and enjoying the beauty, culture and tasty eats of the area.

A highlight of our trip – and what set it apart from the many other times we’ve been to LA – were the fabulous conversations we had with strangers on our last evening in California.

Our Uber driver was a delightful man somewhat recently divorced who was interested in the story of how we met. By the time our ride was finished, we felt like we were driving around with an old friend.

We wished him luck finding love again, and he wished us a happy marriage.

When we arrived at Manhattan Beach, I noticed two women who appeared to be a mother and daughter trying to take photos of themselves while hanging off the pier.

I stopped and offered to take their photos.

They preened and posed, laughed and let us in on their lives.

Then they returned the favor, taking several photos of us.

When we told them how long we had been married, they serenaded us on-the-spot, singing “eight years!” over and over again in beautiful harmony.

My cell phone recorded not only the photos they had taken of us but also photos I had taken of them. The reverse was true of their cell phone.

At the small-plates restaurant we chose for dinner that evening, Fishing with Dynamite, we made friends with the manager and sous chef.

Seated at the oyster bar, we were separated from the sous chef only by a pane of glass.

The manager sat down with us throughout the evening, checking in on the couple from Kansas.

We left with their business cards and assurances that we would always get a seat at their table.

We’d ordered one dessert to share, but servers brought out two – both comped.

Our menu choices were informed by the sous chef, bartender and server – each more delightful than the last.

We felt like we had dined with lifelong friends or family that night.

On the shuttle to the airport the next day, we made friends with an architect and scientist/engineer visiting from Canada (she calls herself a “steminist.”) He was British, and I commented about his charming accent as soon as I heard it. Before we were at our gate, she had found me on Instagram and reached out.

These experiences made our vacation more meaningful, memorable and magical.

While my husband sometimes rolls his eyes at my compulsion to hear and tell stories, he admitted that making friends out of strangers made this trip to LA our best. My advice is to always reach out and be open – it makes life more fun.

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