How Strangers Met and Fell in Love After Plane Was Stranded on 9/11

Nick and Diane Marson met after becoming stranded in Newfoundland, where strangers took them in.

After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, 38 planes carrying a total of 6,700 people were grounded in Gander, Newfoundland — population 11,000.

Among those stranded were two strangers: Nick, from England, and Diane, from Texas.

In this unlikeliest of situations, a relationship between the pair blossomed and now — 18 years after they met and 17 years after they married — Nick and Diane Marson are sharing how they found hope amid such tragedy.

"It wasn't love at first sight," Nick admitted to of the moment they met at a shelter in Gambo. "I asked Diane if I could take the cot next to hers."

"There were 60 or 70 cots in the room so it didn't really matter," she said.

But, as American airspace remained closed, the two got talking.

"Each of us were there alone, a lot of tragedy had gone on in the rest of the world and you just want someone to talk to," said Diane.

Nick added, "At that point, your emotions are on steroids. It took five days for the relationship to blossom."

They felt love from the residents of the towns, too.

"Everyone there ... all the little towns took such wonderful care of us. They just put their lives on hold," Diane said.

When they were eventually able to leave Gander, Nick returned to the United Kingdom, but kept in touch with Diane. In October 2001, he made an excuse to return to Houston. A month later, he proposed.

The following year, on Sept. 7, 2002, the couple married.

"We went back to Newfoundland for our honeymoon," Diane said. "Where else would we go? We spent it with the people that we'd met before."

Their incredible story — and the kindness shown by strangers — has been made into a musical, "Come From Away," and a documentary, "You Are Here." The documentary is playing on Sept. 11 this year at more than 800 theaters across the country.

What's the message they took from the experience?

"Kindness, care for others, compassion, putting yourself last and other people first," said Diane. "They just put their lives on hold....

"The world can be better one person at a time and it can start with you."