VIRGINIA (KFDX/KJTL) — As Dorian begins to skirt the east coast, there is a reminder that good things can come out of the bad storms of life.
15 years ago, two people in Virginia found themselves in the rushing waters of tropical depression “Gaston.” The storm ended up being the first chapter of a love story.
Main street station is a central point, trains coming in and out, uniting people every day.
“This is how it started! It was a day like today a gorgeous day,” says Justin Walker.
August 30, 2004. remnants of tropical depression Gaston moved into central Virginia.
“Wow this is rain like you see in the movies,” says Jessica Walker.
It was the first day of school for Jessica and Justin, two strangers ready to start pharmacy school.
“I’m a nice guy, I came out and said, I don’t want to sound creepy but it’s pouring out here and you’re welcome to come to the door,” Justin said to Jessica.
Justin and Jessica in the car heading to safety, not knowing they were heading into danger in front of main street station.
Sound : Justin walker
“Essentially what looked like a giant wave came down main street and over the front of my car. It’s a little Volkswagen and the car stopped running,” said Justin.
Panic setting in and justin taking charge.
“I grabbed her door handle and in one failed swoop kind of shoulder checked her out of the car,” said Justin.
“At this point every car around us is submerged. The water went from the tires to my waist. I thought it was best to stay in the car. He grabbed me and we swam up the steps of the train station. At this point we are in a river,” said Jessica.
Finding refuge on the second floor of the station, the two strangers were lucky to be alive.
“There’s no doubt in my mind he saved my life that day,” says Jessica.
An amtrak train eventually made it’s way into the station, taking them and 40 others to safety.
“We managed to scrounge $15 together and we split nachos, a sandwich and one corona and that was dinner,” said Justin.
They didn’t know it at the time, but “that” was their first date.
“We were inseparable ever since. You can’t describe that event to anyone,” says Jessica.
This picture shows where it all started. They escaped from this red car destroyed by the floodwaters.
Main street station not just a monument in the city, but for their love.
“I drive by it every day and there’s not a day where I don’t think about it,” says Jessica.
In 2007 Justin proposed to Jessica, on the very steps they swam to for safety.
And hanging in their garage, the license plates from the same destroyed car reminding them of that crazy day.
“I lost a car but gained a wife, so I think I came out on top there,” says Justin.