When Andy boarded a Greyhound bus with his friend Steven in the summer of 1990, he was disappointed to find there was nowhere to sit together. They were in the US for work meetings and had planned to spend extra time touring the country. “I’d been in Orlando to sign a contract to write and design comic books,” he says. “My buddy and I were going from Florida to Montana, then on to San Diego for Comic Con.” He found a free seat next to Becky, who was taking her children home on the bus from Disney World.
As he approached, Becky reluctantly removed her belongings from the spare seat. “I had hoped nobody would sit there,” she admits. “A creepy guy in front had started talking to me and bothering me. He kept asking why I didn’t have a husband. I just wanted to be left alone.”
At first, she didn’t speak to Andy, but, when they stopped at a fast-food restaurant, she asked if he would watch her two boys while she went to the bathroom.
“We got back on the road and I overheard the guy in front making a really crass comment,” says Andy. “I grabbed Becky’s hand and told him we had just got engaged and to leave us alone.” After defending her, he noticed they were still holding hands. “That was the icebreaker for us to get chatting,” he says. “I’d never met an American woman before and was very interested in her life. I drew some pictures of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for her kids.”
Once they started talking, they found they couldn’t stop. “Andy is from Glasgow and I really liked his accent,” says Becky. Around 10 hours into the journey, it struck Andy that he might never see her again after his trip. “Out of the blue, I asked her what she’d say if I asked her to marry me at Christmas in Scotland.” Her answer was yes and they shared their first kiss.
When they reached Chicago, Becky got a connection back to Moline, Illinois, where she lived with her children. Andy took her phone number before he and Steven continued to their destination. As soon as he reached Billings, Montana, he realised he wanted to see Becky again. “I rang her straight away and asked if I could stay for a few days.”
Although he felt guilty about leaving Steven to travel on alone at the age of 17, he couldn’t resist spending more time with Becky. “I was so excited when he called,” she says. “His stay was like a whirlwind but we had a great time together.”
After the visit, Andy went home to Glasgow but they stayed in touch via phone calls. In November, he asked if she would like to go out to dinner – and made plans to fly out a few days later. “When I told my mum I was marrying this guy I met on the bus she didn’t believe me. But when she met him, she really liked him,” says Becky. Andy says his parents were also shocked at first. “Nobody ever believes it’s real because it’s such a crazy story,” he says, laughing.
Despite other people’s doubts, Becky flew to Scotland at Christmas and the two were married a few days later. “My family and friends came, everyone was really happy for us,” he says.
Andy moved to Moline, where their daughter was born in 1993. “When we first met, we talked about giving our child 26 names – one for every letter of the alphabet. When she arrived, that’s what we did and she was in the local newspaper,” says Andy.
Three years later, the couple moved to Iowa, before settling in Minnesota in 1999. Andy is now an accountant and a writer, while Becky works for the Red Cross. “To have someone care about me as much as he does is something I treasure,” says Becky. “I love that he encourages me to try new things. He knows me so well.” Andy appreciates the strength and support she offers him. “Becky is extremely compassionate and smart as hell. She makes me a better person.”
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