Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Council memento for bus stop lovers

Aly and Michala Hussien at the old bus shelter where they fell in love.

A couple have been handed a lasting memento of the place they fell in love - a council bus stop.

Aly Hussein, 41, admired future wife Michala, 40, each day as she waited for a bus home at the stop in Gloucester Road, Bristol.

He eventually plucked up the courage to say hello and the pair chatted daily, before Mr Hussein asked her out.

The couple married three years ago and always remember the spot where they fell in love, close to Mr Hussein's business, the Blue Lagoon bar.

Their friend, Tat Mersy, contacted Bristol City Council after hearing that the bus stop, Zetland Road Junction, was to be replaced.

The council agreed to her request for a part of the stop to be handed over to the couple because of its significance to them.

Today, representatives from the council and bus shelter supplier Clear Channel UK presented the pair with the bus stop flag and seat.

"Every day I used to see her at the same time in the same place and really wanted to get to know her so one day I took the opportunity to say hello," Mr Hussein said.

"Our daily chats led to me asking her out properly. We've now been married for three years but I'll never forget how we met and it's wonderful that we can keep a little bit of our history forever."

Mr Hussein first spotted her eight years ago as she waited for her bus after leaving her job in a nearby flower shop.

Ms Mersy heard that the bus stop was being replaced through a letter drop in the area about work on The Promenade in Gloucester Road.

The bus stop, for services heading north along the A38, is due to be replaced as part of a £30,000 improvement scheme.

She wrote to the council's passenger transport team, saying : "Whilst I don't object to its being relocated I would ask you to spare a thought for Mr Aly and Mrs Michala Hussein. Aly has run the successful Blue Lagoon bar for years and met and wooed his future wife, Michala, at that bus stop outside the bar.

"Michala has said that seeing the bus stop go is very emotional for them both.

"Could you possibly find it in your hearts to gift them a small piece of the bus stop? I know they would be very touched at such a generous gesture from the council."

Deputy mayor Geoffrey Gallop, who handed the couple part of the shelter, said he was delighted to grant the request.

"Amazing and wonderful things can happen at bus stops," Mr Gallop said.

"As well as being a place of shelter and information they can spark all kinds of new social interactions. I'm delighted that Bristol City Council with Clear Channel are able to help Aly and Michala mark the start of their romance in this way."

Mark Webb, operations director at Clear Channel UK, which supplies the council bus shelters, added: "Both Bristol City Council and Clear Channel thought that Ali and Michala's story was fantastic. We're delighted to provide them with a little piece of the bus shelter as a memento of the start of their relationship."

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