Just before Ashley Marie Thomas left the Associated Press’s New York office in February 2009 to take a full-time job in the Philadelphia office, she believed she saw the last of Dino Hazell, an editor and nighttime supervisor who had also worked for the news service on that moment.
“I didn’t like him at all,” said Ms. Thomas, 35, now deputy political editor for the Washington Bureau of the AP. “I found it very difficult to work with Dino in New York,” said Mrs. Thomas, “so I was very happy to get away from him.”
But just as the door closed behind her, a New York manager informed Ms. Thomas that Mr. Hazell and a few other colleagues from the New York office were also being transferred to the Philadelphia office.
“I wasn’t excited,” she said.
When Mr. Hazell, 51, a graduate of NYU, where he also received a master’s degree in journalism, arrived, the change of scenery somehow made him less of a nuisance than Mrs. Thomas had remembered.
In fact, they quickly became friends. “He was loud and funny and one of the best editors I’ve ever encountered,” said Ms. Thomas, who graduated magna cum laude from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
“He was like a different person,” she said.
Then came a seismic shift in their relationship — the night shift, that is — which Mrs. Thomas had to fill for three months.
She started working from 11pm to 7am, and although she dreaded the hours, she was able to spend some time with Mr. Hazell, who worked from 4pm to noon, and had lunch every night at 10:30am. to have Mrs. Thomas walk the seven blocks from her house to the office to start her night shift.
“At first I turned down all his offers because I didn’t want anyone to think there was something going on between us,” Ms Thomas said. “But Dino insisted and appeared at my door.”
They began to grow closer and over the following months spent a lot of time together on weekends and talked constantly.
“I really thought we had something special together during those early days in Philadelphia,” said Mr. hazel. “There was so much potential.”
In July 2010, Mrs. Thomas felt the same, and they started dating.
The years went by and they continued dating, and then some.
“It got to the point where my parents started to pressure me a bit, wondering if and when Dino and I were ever going to get married, because he was just taking his sweet old days about things,” Ms Thomas said.
“Suddenly we were seven years on and I felt like I’d spent enough time wondering if Dino would marry me — and I was tired of Philadelphia,” she added.
So she looked for another job within the company and found a job opening in Washington, where she started working in November 2017, leaving Mr. Hazell in Philadelphia.
“For the next 10 months, I took a two-hour train ride or a three-hour bus ride every weekend to visit her,” he said. “I didn’t like being without her in my life, and I knew that meant living where she lived.”
He too now works in Washington, where he became editor of the Washington Political Bureau. He eventually worked his way back into Mrs. Thomas’s heart.
The couple were married on August 14 by Rev. Peter Lanshima, a Roman Catholic priest, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, Georgia.
“We’ve come a long way with some serious doubts along the way,” said the bride. “Luckily we finally made it.”