A Chance Encounter Unites Two Strangers From Different Worlds

A Chance Encounter Unites Two Strangers From Different Worlds

Luis Correa and Ronald Corning met by accident and, after discussing their 20-year age difference, found themselves inseparable.

Luis Alberto Correa and Ronald David Corning met on Nov. 25, 2017, at a holiday party that neither was attending. The party was in the lobby of the Arpeggio Apartments building in Dallas. Mr. Correa, who lived in the building, was simply returning after walking his cocker spaniel, Chloe, and in no way dressed for a soiree.

Mr. Corning, on other hand, was there to pick up his friend. “And my friend said, ‘Come in here. There are cute boys,’” he said. Mr. Corning and Mr. Correa met and chatted briefly.

The following week, the same friend texted Mr. Corning: “Do you remember that guy you met in the lobby? He asked about you.” Mr. Corning told his friend to share his number with Mr. Correa.

“We texted a bit and decided to go together to Oak Lawn” — a neighborhood in Dallas popular with L.G.B.T.Q. people — “to meet a group of my friends for Sunday Funday and dinner,” Mr. Corning said.

He then left for two weeks, traveling on a pre-Christmas vacation, but they continued to text regularly. Upon Mr. Corning’s return, they met on Dec. 28 for their official first date at V-Eats, a vegan restaurant that has since closed.

“We spent a lot of time together in January having conversations about the age difference and our worlds,” Mr. Corning, 51, said. “I was pretty rigid about dating someone closer to my age. I reluctantly went forward with meeting him, and probably did it in a more casual setting among friends.” He did not want to jump in headfirst.

But after they spent more time together, Mr. Corning felt like he could express his reservations to Mr. Correa. He wasn’t worried that they wouldn’t have common interests, but that Mr. Correa wouldn’t be “comfortable with somebody older.”

But Mr. Correa, 31, has always thought of age as a number, he said, and sees “people for who they are.”

“Someone older doesn’t necessarily mean they are any wiser than me,” he said. “I made sure to show with my actions that I wanted to be in a serious and committed relationship.”

“I believed him,” Mr. Corning said.

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Ashley Itliong

By the end of January 2018, the two admitted to themselves and one another that they were inseparable. In April 2018, Mr. Correa moved into Mr. Corning’s apartment. They bought a home together, where they still live today, in the Dallas neighborhood of Oak Cliff in 2020.

Mr. Corning is the managing partner of creative and talent for OAM, a creative video agency formerly known as On-Air Media. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and religion from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. He moved to Dallas in 2011 from New York City to work as a morning anchor for WFAA, an ABC affiliate.

Mr. Correa is a private client insurance advisor for IMA Financial Group, a wealth management and insurance company based in Denver, with offices in Dallas. He graduated from Irving High School outside of Dallas.

On July 4, 2021, during a trip to Arvada, Colo., Mr. Corning proposed to Mr. Correa as they celebrated Mr. Correa’s 30th birthday with friends. The back of Mr. Correa’s birthday cake revealed a special message: “Will you marry me?”

Mr. Correa was born on the Fourth of July in Campeche, Mexico, and came to the United States on his 13th birthday in 2004. “When I first met Ron, I was worried that telling him about my immigration story would make him reconsider our relationship,” Mr. Correa said of his DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) journey. “I know not everyone understands the challenges that immigrants face, and I didn’t want to scare him off.”

Instead, Mr. Corning, who grew up in Calais, Maine, said that it inspired him “to become an advocate for immigrant rights.” He uses his research skills to support Mr. Correa, who also works with nonprofit organizations like Dreamers2gether and United We Dream.

Mr. Corning and Mr. Correa had a tough time deciding on wedding plans. “We found ourselves with ‘paralysis by analysis,’” Mr. Corning said. So, on April 14, with the help of their friends Tara and Fritz Rahr, Mr. Corning said, “We looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s just do it now!’”

A week later, the two were wed on April 21 in Fort Worth at the Rahrs’ home. “I joked in my vows that I was so excited for his success in part because maybe I can retire and be a social planner and house manager,” Mr. Corning said.

The couple chose the date to honor Mr. Corning’s mother who passed away in 2020, realizing that it would have been his parents’ 55th wedding anniversary.

Mitchell West, ordained by Universal Life Church, officiated with nine guests in attendance, including Mr. Correa’s mother, Noemi Angel Hernandez, and Mr. Corning’s father, Arnold Frederick Corning, and his significant other Barbara Clark, who drove 2,100 miles together from Maine for the occasion.

“I officiated the marriage of Tara and Fritz Rahr in July of 2020,” Mr. Corning said. “When Tara began helping us plan, she offered her home. We both agreed it was a special full circle moment.”