Couple Recounts How They Fell in Love, 1 Year After Meeting During Hurricane Harvey
For their first date, Tre Chatlin drove through flood waters to pick up Oliver Perrett.
Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston and much of Texas last year, causing dozens of deaths, tens of thousands of evacuations and more than $100 billion worth of destruction.
It also caused love to blossom between Oliver Perrett of New Forest and Tre Chatlin of Park Springs, both 26.
Less than a year after Chatlin drove through floodwaters just to take Perrett on their first date to Outback Steakhouse, "one of the very few restaurants that happened to be open,” he and Perrett are happily married and living in their new dream home.
"The moment he met me, his soul just latched onto me," Perrett told InsideEdition.com.
It all started on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, when Perrett opened his Tinder app.
"Everything around us was flooded," he recalled. “I was sitting at home, nothing much to do, and I saw that I had a message."
Chatlin continued, reciting his initial message on the spot: "Let me start off by saying you’re incredibly handsome."
While Perrett was looking for some quiet time away from all the extended family that had taken shelter in his house, Chatlin said being alone at home with only his mom gave him all the free time to chat.
They hit it off instantly, and spent the next several days chatting nonstop, whether Perrett was sending short texts between video games with his cousins or Chatlin was staying up for hours to chat on the phone.
“He asked me to FaceTime, I’m like, 'Well sure, I look terrible right now,'" Perrett said, admitting, “but really, I had done my hair, put on a muscle shirt and was laying in bed, had fixed the lighting — done a whole professional setting so we can FaceTime."
As the floodwaters subsided, Perrett suggested to Chatlin that they finally go on a date.
“I was so scared to leave because my neighborhood was in such bad condition," Chatlin said, explaining his Mustang was too close to the ground, and wouldn’t have made it through the flooding.
But Perrett insisted, saying, "Well, I’ll take my truck."
At dinner, they talked for hours before Chatlin’s family invited them for a game night with nearly a dozen other people taking shelter from the storm at his home.
From that moment on, they never spent more than 24 hours apart. Chatlin popped the question in the spring, and they married just weeks later.
"It’s crazy because we talk about how we found love when there was just so much chaos," Chatlin said. "It was very sad for our city, but we see it through our eyes, how something beautiful came through such a tragic time for our city."
A year on from the devastating storm, Perrett and Chatlin want to remind people how important it is to be ready.
"I think the last storm — no one expected it to be that bad," Chatlin said. “Give it a little more attention and take the necessary precautions. Make sure you’re prepared because you definitely don’t want to get stuck.”
Beyond that, Perrett emphasized the importance of keeping your head up and supporting one another through the storm.
"Through every storm, there’s going to be some sunshine, and no matter how dark the day may seem, there’s always a light," he said. "We found our light through that time, and we’ve seen how our city has rebuilt during that time. Even through tragedies, it’s great to see how people come together."
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