Set your heart aflutter with our series “Love Stories,” which features unique couples whose tales will inspire you to celebrate and #ShareYourLoveStory this Valentine’s Day. This love story begins at a football game and a quick smooch on the kiss cam.

Sonia Debreczeni and Chaz Riddle were caught on the kiss cam at a football game in Baltimore five years ago. “I looked at her, she gave me the OK, and I kissed her,” Chaz explains. “It was a little flirty,” Sonia adds, smiling. Chaz says he has no idea why the camera operator settled on them, “But thanks, pal!”

They both agree that it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Sonia gave Chaz her number, and he texted her later to set up the first date.

Sometimes people go looking for love, but other times it just sneaks up and taps you on the shoulder. And of course, it’s this unpredictability that makes romance both nail-biting and, well, fun. On this occasion, Chaz was there as a football fan, while Sonia just showed up for the atmosphere — a friend had given her a free ticket.

When the kiss cam brought them together in front of the whole stadium that day, the couple, who had both been married previously, were living 30 miles apart, in Virginia and Maryland. Chaz planned out their date at the beach, starting with chocolates in the car for when he picked her up. “Yes, he seduced me with chocolate!” Sonia says with a laugh. “No,” Chaz corrects, “I wooed her with chocolate….”

When he took a kite out of the trunk and watched Sonia running on the beach with it and having fun, he says “sparks were confirmed.” He says that was the moment when he thought, “I could spend my life with this woman.”

For her part, Sonia says, “I felt like a teenager on a date!”

They shared some toasts to the future, and Chaz says it felt like “the first meeting never really ended.”

Perfect match

Family and friends were delighted with the match too, though Chaz reports that one of his friends did ask what Sonia saw in him, saying she was way out of his league. “I told him, ‘If I’d kissed you, you’d know!'”

Now they live in Chaz’s house in Maryland. “I crossed the river,” Sonia says. They still go to football games and love to travel, and Chaz built a horseshoe pit complete with tiki torches for when they’re relaxing at home.

“He’s the most thoughtful, caring, very sentimental man,” Sonia says. “It’s a very beautiful thing, especially when he looks for a card or a present, as it comes from the heart.”

“Sonia wears her heart on her sleeve,” Chaz says. “I know exactly what she’s thinking by looking at her face.”

For Valentine’s Day they always go for dinner somewhere they feel comfortable, and Chaz says he buys chocolates and gives her flowers. “He also bakes brownies,” Sonia says. “He’s a closet baker! One year he hand-cut them into heart shapes!”

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Joanne is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She's been a storyteller all her life, and she loves sharing glimpses into people's lives. Her writing has been published on and in Mission magazine.

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