Penn State Love Stories: Brought Together By The CATA Bus

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Plenty of Penn Staters ride the CATA bus on a daily basis, whether it be to get to class or for a quick errand. For Claire and Brian Blankenfield, taking the bus was simply a part of their everyday routine — until the day it introduced them to each other.

During Claire’s sophomore year at Penn State, she lived off campus in Nittany Crossings while Brian lived at the The Pointe. Though the apartment complexes are directly next to each other, the two students never actually ran into each other until one fateful bus trip to campus.

It turns out Brian had actually noticed Claire on the bus months earlier and immediately had a crush on her. However, he was simply too hesitant to take the leap of faith and introduce himself. Once he finally spotted her again, he knew he couldn’t miss the chance to say hello. But the two students only chatted briefly and, thus, forgot to exchange contact information.

“We talked for a little bit, but we were both so nervous and excited we forgot to exchange numbers,” Claire said.

But as fate would have it, Claire and Brian happened to run into each other on the bus again just a few days later. This time, however, they were standing far apart in the midst of an unusually packed bus.

“[I] got really excited because I didn’t know if we would see each other again,” Claire said. “But we were on opposite ends of the bus and it was too crowded for us to talk.”

Luckily, Brian took the inconvenient situation into his own hands and simply decided to get off at Claire’s stop instead. He was determined to avoid making the same mistake again.

(Photo: Claire Blankenfield)

“So Brian got off at my stop and said ‘I can’t believe I didn’t ask for your number the other day! Would you like to go on a date sometime?'” Claire said.

Shortly after, Claire and Brian went out to dinner for their first date. After finally getting the opportunity to sit down and get to know each other, they realized they had more in common than they ever thought. The two instantly bonded over shared interests and a similar sense of humor.

“Brian pulled into a McDonalds parking lot to try and trick me and pretend that’s where we were going,” Claire said. “We’ve been together ever since!”

The pair spent much of their time at Penn State by each other’s sides before Brian gradated in 2013 and Claire graduated in 2014. In December 2015, Brian took the next step in the relationship when the couple decided to make the trip back to Happy Valley — by proposing in the same exact spot they first met.

Claire and Brian married in July 2017. To this day, they still credit what was once just a part of their daily routine for bringing them together.

(Photo: Claire Blankenfield)


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About Author

Claire Fountas

Claire Fountas is the student life editor for Onward State, as well as a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology. She lives in a suburb of Chicago and strongly disagrees with anyone who hates the Cubs or the Blackhawks (so, pretty much anyone at Penn State). You can follow her @ClaireFountas or email her at [email protected]

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