Love at the Rental Car Counter
A close friend of Nicholas Rowe’s once told him, “You’re going to fall in love with the girl who shuts you up.”
Chalk one up for that friend.
“Everyone thinks I’m funny, but Jess has a lot of sass, and getting her to laugh was very much a challenge,” Mr. Rowe said.
In 2016, Mr. Rowe, 38, who goes by Nick, was Jessica Ravana’s manager at Enterprise Rent-A-Car at the airport in Jacksonville, Fla. The fact that Ms. Ravana, 30, didn’t visibly laugh at his jokes like everyone else intrigued him.
Beneath their at-work banter, she did find him amusing and a subtle flirtation began. But they kept it under wraps because the company has a strict policy that relationships between employees must be reported to the human resources department.
On their first date, they ordered in food at her place, and watched “Jurassic Park.” They had each lived in Jacksonville long enough to know that despite it being the state’s largest city, there was always the chance of bumping into a colleague. So, their first few dates took place in stealth mode, at either of their homes.
About two months in, they risked an outing to the beach. In a restaurant there, Ms. Ravana returned from using the restroom to find their senior manager talking to Mr. Rowe at their table.
On their second date in public, they ran into yet another co-worker. By this point, they knew making it official was in order; they reported it to human resources. Other early dates included the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and the St. Augustine Wild Reserve, since they are both animal lovers.
Mr. Rowe and Ms. Ravana were both born in Southern California; both spent their formative years and attended college in the Northeast, and then both followed their families, who later moved to Jacksonville.
Ms. Ravana is now a leasing agent for JWB Rental Homes and Mr. Rowe is an account executive for RJ Young Company, which sells office technology.
Ms. Ravana said she knew Mr. Rowe was the one after they met each other’s families.
“I saw how well everyone works together, and I could really see myself being a part of his family,” she said. The first time she met them, though, was at a dinner celebrating Mr. Rowe’s niece’s birthday. Among a family of big eaters, her nerves got the better of her, so she ordered a salad, a fact she will never live down.
“He always knows what to say and can talk to anyone,” said Ms. Ravana, who is taking Mr. Rowe’s name. “He also has a huge heart.”
In 2018, they adopted a Chihuahua mix named Izzy. Ms. Ravana already had two others, Ginger and Fiona; they bought a house and moved in together in 2019.
In February 2020, they went on a weeklong cruise in the Caribbean. On an evening with a formal dinner, Mr. Rowe proposed as they were posing for portraits. Cruise attendees congratulated them for the remainder of the trip.
They married Feb. 20 before approximately 130 guests at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, where they took their first-look photos in the penguin exhibit, and the bride walked down the aisle to the theme from “Jurassic Park.”
Wedding favors included hand sanitizer and masks.
“They say that opposites attract, but we also pick up for each other’s shortcomings in so many ways,” said Mr. Rowe. “I also love how she challenges me and supports me.”
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