How a Spokane couple who'd eschewed marriage were proven wrong after a serendipitous encounter

click to enlarge How a Spokane couple who'd eschewed marriage were proven wrong after a serendipitous encounter
Shanoah Eck Photo
Araceli Rivera and Andrew DaSilva will wed in June.

Araceli Rivera didn't want to see anyone.

Feeling under the weather, and like she looked as rough as she felt, she just wanted to get a hot apple cider from the Starbucks drive-thru and be on her way. But the location nearest her former home in Madera, California, didn't have a drive-thru, so she drove across town instead.

When she got there, the line was out to the street. Yet right in front of the door was an open parking space.

"OK, I guess I'm doing this," she thought to herself.

Andrew DaSilva doesn't even like coffee. He was just passing through Madera and needed to use the restroom.

"I'm walking in and he's walking out of the bathroom and smiles at me," Rivera recalls. "And I think, 'He's extremely good-looking.' His dimples really got me."

Convinced she'd never see him again, she got in line to order.

"Pretty soon, I realize he's behind me. I was so nervous... I have sniffles and I don't look great," she says. "Then I order, but I can't find my debit card. I'm beyond embarrassed at this point as I hear him ask, 'How much is it?'"

Immediately taken by her beauty, DaSilva had been trying to figure out a reason to talk to her.

"When I saw that she didn't have her card, I thought, 'This is my chance!'"

Rivera told him she'd pay him back, to which he replied: "Have your drink with me and we'll call it even."

They sat outside talking for over two hours.

"We talked every day over the next two weeks. He lived an hour north. But we finally made a second date. We saw a movie and went to... Starbucks," Rivera says, laughing.

A decade later and the couple, now living in Spokane, is readying for their June 24 wedding. But it isn't what they initially planned.

Rivera and DaSilva agreed at the beginning of their relationship that they'd probably never get married, as both come from unstable families and didn't have a great opinion of marriage. Just before their fateful meeting, Rivera had exited a domestic violence situation.

"I had given up on love. I was very content just living my life at that point," she says.

However, that feeling slowly changed over the years.

"I knew she was always the one, but when we reached our 10-year anniversary, I knew I couldn't picture life without her as my wife," DaSilva says. "I would give her the world if I could." 

"It was all so serendipitous," Rivera says. "I had moved to Madera after having got back together with my ex. Sometimes I think, 'If only I could go back and do things differently,' to not have those memories of a toxic marriage... but then I think everything happened for a reason and maybe that reason was so that I would eventually meet Andrew."

The couple's June 24 ceremony will be an intimate event at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars with Rivera's son and daughter officiating.

"Andrew has always been such a good 'bonus' father to my children. The most important part of the day is going to be the unity of our families and getting to interact with these beautiful people that have supported us and been a part of our relationship," she says.

Plans for their future include buying a house and VIP tickets to a San Francisco 49ers game for a belated honeymoon.

For now, their love of impromptu adventures, hanging out with their two Maltese-Shih Tzus, visiting breweries, listening to live music and having date night once a week fills their buckets.

And making sure to show their appreciation of each other.

"I just love how she's always thinking about other people. It doesn't matter what it is," DaSilva says. "She can be starving, but she's going to make sure she makes you something and that you eat before she thinks of herself. She's very selfless."

Rivera gets emotional as he says this.

"I never thought I would marry again, then walked Andrew into my life and showed me what it's like to fully, unconditionally love. When I saw him with my soul and not my eyes is when I realized that it would be my biggest honor to be his wife." ♦

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