If it had been up to John Ratliff, he and Haley Cox would have made a connection years before they actually did.
The two were both student-athletes at Ole Miss—Haley on the track team and John playing football—when a mutual friend recommended to John that they meet. “John said he would see me day after day at the athletic facility but could not formulate words to say,” Haley recalls with a laugh. “He got the brilliant idea to follow me on all social media, but I didn’t follow him back on anything.”
Feeling discouraged, John “gave up hope,” Haley says—that is, until after graduation when Haley moved to Dallas. John was living there too, attending dental school. “We had mutual friends who just happened to invite both of us to a big group dinner,” she says. Although the hostess had seated the two of them far apart, John spent the whole dinner concocting a plan to talk to Haley. “We ended up talking the rest of the night and had the best time,” Haley remembers.
But once again, things didn’t quite go according to John’s plans. He asked Haley out on three dates “that ended up not happening because of my schedule,” she says. “I knew this would probably make him think I was rejecting him, so I invited him to a Dallas Stars game with some friends, and then the night after, he asked me on our first real date. The rest is history.”
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