Woman Tracks Down Her First Love On Facebook 28 Years After They First Met

Everyone wants to find true love. It’s the dream of so many boys and girls and men and women; everyone hopes to eventually be able to find the right person for them and settle down, living out their own personal ‘happy ending.’ But sometimes, we meet the right person at the wrong time. This is exactly what happened to young lovers, Kay Gibbs and Michael “Marty” Martinovic, who first met back in 1980.

Kay Gibbs and Michael 'Marty' Martinovic

Source: Flickr

Even though their bond was strong and their connection was real, the time just wasn’t right for Kay and Marty back then. They ended up separating and living their own separate lives. But life can surprise us, and fate often has a few unexpected tricks up its sleeve, leading Kay and Marty back together, many years later. This is the story of an unpredictable and unlikely romance, and a happy ending that two people thought they’d never have.

A Different Time

Our story starts in the year 1980. Back then, the world was a very different place to the one we know now. Many of the technologies, devices, and systems we rely on today simply didn’t exist back then. The idea of chatting to people on the internet and keeping in touch through online systems like social media just wasn’t a possibility.

An '80s-themed club

Source: Pinterest

It was a time when people lived differently and behaved differently. Instead of using the internet to meet new people like a lot of young folks nowadays, they had to go right out into the world and speak to them in person. And one of the best places to meet new people is at the club, where this incredible tale of lost and found love begins.

A Very Special Night At The Club

It seemed to be a night like any other at the Falcon’s Next club of the Homestead Air Force Base. The music was playing, the drinks were being poured, and people were dancing the night away. It was a place where military people and locals could come together and simply have a good time, relaxing at the end of a hard working week and letting loose with good friends by their side.

The entrance to Homestead Air Force Base

Source: Pinterest

And this was a perfectly normal night for most of the people who were there. But there were two very special people in that club, and for them, this night would turn out to be the very first step in a long, romantic adventure that would affect the rest of their lives.

Kay Gibbs Was A Single Mom

One of the two special people in the Homestead Air Force Base club that night was Kay Gibbs. She was partying the night away with three of her closest friends, as she often did. She wasn’t a military woman, but she lived nearby to the base and so often spent time at the club there.

A toddler is playing with beads in different colored buckets

Photo by Natalia Lebadinskaia / Shutterstock

Kay was a divorcee, having already gotten married once before, and she definitely wasn’t looking for love on that particular night. In fact, she even had a special rule saying that she wouldn’t date any man she met in the club. She also had a young son, who was just three years old at the time, so was focused on looking after him and being a responsible mom.

Michael Martinovic Was A Military Man

The other special person in the club that night was Michael Martinovic, nicknamed ‘Marty’ to his friends and the people who knew him best. Marty was in the military, actually stationed in the Homestead area of Florida, and just like Kay, he often visited the club, since it was the closest place he could find for meeting people and relaxing with friends.

Michael 'Marty' Martinovic circa 1980

Source: Facebook

Also, in a similar fashion to Kay, he says he wasn’t really looking for romance at the club, he just wanted to have a good time. It was a great spot to chill out at the end of a long day with some drinks and some music, but on that night, Marty was going to find something else.

Love At First Sight

When asked about this moment many years later, both Marty and Kay can remember exactly how it happened and how it felt in their hearts. Kay says she noticed Marty’s military boots shining in the dimly lit room, while Marty says the first thing he saw of Kay was her eyes. When the lights in the club came on, their gaze met.

Photographs of Kay and Marty, circa 1980

Source: Pinterest

It was a moment that Kay described as “instant attraction.” Marty, meanwhile, said that their first sighting of each other was “electric.” It was clear to see that both of them found each other very attractive, but would that attraction last when they started to speak? Marty wanted to find out, so he approached Kay for a conversation.

The Very First Conversation

Everyone who has ever been in a long and special relationship can remember the first time they talked to their partner. It’s always an emotional moment, filled with butterflies and excitement as you both try to talk and act naturally while dealing with all of the attraction and unique sensations you’re experiencing.

Old photos of Kay and Marty

Source: Imgur

That’s exactly how it was for Marty and Kay as well. The military man walked up to the young single mom and tried to keep his cool as he started up a conversation with her, asking the usual questions to find out more about Kay and learn about her life, as well as letting her know he liked her.

Taking It To The Next Level

The next step was clear in Marty’s mind. Since he and Kay seemed to be having a good conversation and had hit it off in the club, he wanted to keep in touch, so he decided to take the plunge and ask her for her number. However, this question didn’t quite turn out the way he had originally planned.

Kay Gibbs tells her story in a TV interview

Source: YouTube

Kay was actually a little reluctant to give Marty her number. After all, she had her special rule about not dating any guys in the club and originally wasn’t even thinking about finding romance or starting a relationship at that time. So, she decided not to give him her number, but that didn’t stop Marty!

Marty Keeps On Trying

Marty really liked Kay, and he knew he wasn’t going to give up without a fight. Even after she said no when he asked for her number, he decided to keep on trying. He had to leave the club for work, but as soon as he was finished, he went right back to the club to find Kay again and ask her for her number once more.

Marty Martinovic in a military uniform

Source: Facebook

This just goes to show that Marty wasn’t kidding around. There were plenty of other girls in the club every single night, but he’d seen something special in Kay, and he knew he wanted to spend more time with her. Even when faced with a challenge to try and get her number, he didn’t simply give up but instead kept on trying, and Kay finally said yes!

The First Date

As soon as Marty got Kay’s number, their love story could truly begin. They then talked for about a week on the phone and arranged their first-ever date. Even though the pair had already met and spoken at the club, their first date was sure to be a very special and exciting moment, as it is for any long-term couple.

Photographs of Kay and Marty, circa 1980

Source: Facebook

It’s always an exciting time when you’re getting ready to go on that first special meeting with someone, knowing that it could turn out to be the start of something that changes your life forever. That’s exactly what it was for Marty and Kay, but they didn’t know it back then. They were just two young people looking to spend time together, and they had an amazing first date.

A Relationship Begins To Blossom

After such a special meeting and a wonderful first date, it was only natural that love began to blossom between Kay and Marty. They can both remember those early days of their relationship so well, with Marty saying that the whole thing “blindsided” him, as he never expected to find love right there in his own military base.

Marty in his military outfit stands in front of a plane

Source: Facebook

Kay, meanwhile, was always pleasantly surprised by what a “gentleman” Marty was to her. He was very kind and caring, always doing the right thing, and making her feel cared for and protected. In short, they were the perfect couple, and their relationship only grew stronger and stronger as time went by.

Their Love Grows and Grows

Many young people get together based purely on physical attraction or infatuation, later finding out that they don’t really connect on a deep and emotional level. But this wasn’t the case for Marty and Kay. As time went by, their bond only seemed to grow stronger, and their love grew and grew.

A man holding flowers in his hands behind his back to surprise his girlfriend

Photo by Standret / Shutterstock

It seemed like with each day that went by, the pair both discovered new wonderful things about one another and made more and more happy memories together. Everything seemed to be just right for them, with Kay saying that she “loved him more and more each day,” even though she never actually told him how strong her feelings had become at the time.

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Sadly, as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Even though their relationship seemed to be perfect, ready to blossom into something bigger and brighter, perhaps even marriage and a family someday, the end was unfortunately in sight for Kay and Marty.

Marty drives a military truck with his dog in the back

Source: Facebook

Marty was, after all, a military man. And one day, after spending several months getting to know Kay and falling in love with her, he learned that he was being re-assigned to a military base in Guam. Their relationship would have to come to an end, and both Kay and Marty were heartbroken by the news but didn’t want to make each other too upset, so they tried to part on the best possible terms.

Nine Magical Months

By the point that Marty got the news about going to Guam, he and Kay had been together for nine whole months. They both later said it was one of the happiest times of their lives, but because they were both so young, they were afraid to truly express their deepest feelings for one another.

Kay and Marty speak together during a TV interview

Source: YouTube

So, when the time came to say goodbye, they decided to simply part as friends, even though Kay called it a “gut-wrenching” experience. To say goodbye, the pair of them lied down on the floor in Kay’s home and hugged, thinking they’d never see each other again. Little did she know that fate had other ideas in store.

Trying To Move On

Since Kay and Marty officially decided to break up when he left, the only real choice they had was to simply try to move on and forget about one another. After all, the internet didn’t exist in those days, so it wasn’t like they could carry on chatting all the time and keeping track of each other on social media.

A film reel of photographs showing Marty and Kay moving on and growing older

Source: Flickr

Those times were different. When people separated, they rarely saw each other again or even talked again, as numbers were lost and people moved away. So, Marty and Kay did the only thing they could: they moved on. They started to make their own lives, even meeting new people and beginning new relationships too.

New Beginnings For Both Of Them

Kay and Marty tried to make the most of the situation. They had a wonderful time together, but they both knew that it simply wasn’t meant to be, that life had other plans in store. So, they both tried to forget about the feelings they’d had and get on with their lives.

Kay and Marty appear in a TV interview

Source: YouTube

As they grew older, they met new people and fell in love all over again. Both of them got married and divorced in the years that followed, dealing with the ups and downs and surprises of life along the way. Like everyone else in the world, they both just tried to get by, making the right decisions, following their hearts, and trying to find their happiness.

Thinking Of One Another

So did Kay and Marty ever think of one another? Well, in a TV interview many years later, they both admitted that they did sometimes remember those amazing nine months and wonder what the other one was doing, how their life was going at the time, if they’d found love with someone else, etc.

Kay and Marty during a TV interview

Source: YouTube

Marty says he didn’t constantly think of Kay, as he had other relationships and other people in his life, but he did spare a thought for her every now and then, wondering how she was getting on with her son and if she ever thought of him. Kay also spent some time thinking of Marty, and even though she fell in love and married another man, she said it never felt quite as passionate as it had with Marty.

Disaster Strikes For Kay

After Marty left, even though she sometimes thought about him, Kay tried to get on with her life and raise her son. She was a wonderful, responsible mother, doing everything she could to look after her boy and even getting a good job with a telecommunications company. Things seemed to be going pretty well, but in 1999, disaster struck.

A headshot of Kay Gibbs

Source: Flickr

She was working with the phone company and doing fine, but one day, she developed an inner eat disorder called Meniere’s disease. This terrible disease absolutely changed Kay’s life, but there was one silver lining to it all: the consequences of what happened next led her all the way back to Marty.

The Effects Of Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease, also known as MD, is a disorder of the inner ear. It leads to a range of different symptoms and can be quite mild in some cases, but very severe in others. Some of the worst symptoms of Meniere’s disease are vertigo, or a feeling like the world is spinning all around you, as well as hearing loss and ringing in the ears.

A girl holding her ear

Photo by Orawan Pattarawimonchai / Shutterstock

Usually, Meniere’s disease only affects one ear, but it can affect both in some cases. The episodes of vertigo and ringing can last for several hours, and as the disease gets worse, it can eventually cause total hearing loss. It’s a disease that affects around 1 in every 1,000 people, and it tends to affect women more than men.

Kay Begins To Suffer

Meniere’s disease affected Kay very badly. She was having to deal with terrible vertigo episodes and had to spend a total of 18 months in bed due to the disorder. She was placed on short-term disability, which later changed to long-term disability. She was suffering greatly every day and eventually had to get an operation on her ear to try and solve the problem.

A diagram explaining the effects of Meniere's disease

Source: healthyhearing.com

Kay and the doctors hoped that surgery would be the answer to her disease, finally letting her get out of bed and get back to her life once more. However, the doctors also told Kay that the operation was a risky one and could lead to some dangerous side effects, in the worst possible case. Either way, she knew she had to do it.

The Surgery Succeeds, At A Price

At the end of the operation, Kay received some good news and some bad news. The good news was that the surgery had been successful in treating the disease and freeing Kay of her horrible symptoms. The bad news was that she was now deaf in one of her ears.

A surgeon putting on disposable surgical gown and gloves before going into the theater

Photo by ravipat / Shutterstock

She was naturally quite shocked to learn that she’d have to get used to relying on just one ear, but she was happy to finally be cured of her vertigo and tinnitus, ready to get back to work. Except, the more she thought about it, the more she realized she didn’t really want to go back to that same old job.

Kay Makes A Big Decision

Even though she was starting to have second thoughts about her job, Kay still decided to go back to work for the time being before making any rash decisions. After all, she’d spent a lot of time out of work and needed to get back into the swing of things to support herself and her son.

A blonde woman and a man are walking along the beach holding hands at sunrise

Photo by Day of Victory Studio / Shutterstock

However, after spending just a couple of weeks back at work with the phone company, she came to a clear realization: she wanted to do something else with her life. The job just wasn’t fun or enjoyable anymore, and after having gone into hospital for her operation, she felt like life was too short to do things you don’t want to do. So, she made a big decision and told her boss she was resigning.

Time For Something New

Kay had been bold and brave in choosing to quit her job, but now she needed to think of something else to do with her days, and fast! She suddenly wasn’t making any money at all, and even though she had some savings, she couldn’t stay like that forever. She started to think about different business ideas, wondering what she could to make a living in a fun and interesting way.

The front of Kay's new business

Source: Flickr

She wanted a job that she could really enjoy, something where she could be her own boss and feel happy and fulfilled going to work each day. This was all in the early 2000s when the internet was starting to take off, and the concept of online shopping was becoming big, so Kay started to take an interest in consignment shops.

Kay’s Designer Consignment

Kay had already got a little experience in buying and selling things online. She’d sold some collectible items herself and felt like she could do that sort of thing for a living, with the right resources and the right space. So she started visiting consignment shops and getting involved with auctions and estate sales.

Kay working in her consignment shop

Source: Flickr

She began buying and re-selling unique and interesting items, and in November 2002, her business went to the next level. She saw a “For Sale” sign in one of the consignment shops she visited regularly and was tired of working from home, so she decided to speak to the owner and buy the shop! That was when her business, known as Kay’s Designer Consignment, truly began.

Business Is Booming

In the consignment business, people basically take items to shops like Kay’s and ask for help to sell them. Kay, and other consignors, sell the items and then the profits get split 50/50 between them and the original owner of the items. Kay seemed to be a real natural at this kind of work.

Some of Kay's happy customers

Source: Facebook

In only her first week of owning her own shop, she broke all of the previous sales records from the past decade! As word started to spread, more and more people went to her store, and eventually, she got so much business that she had to move to a whole new space over in Ormond Beach, Florida.

Disaster Strikes Again

Everything was going great, and Kay was having the time of her life in such a rewarding job. She had always been a very sociable and chatty person, so she loved to work in a business that let her connect with people and meet new folks every day. Sadly, fate had another nasty surprise in store for her.

Kay at work, chatting with a customer

Source: Facebook

In the summer of 2006, she was working as normal when she suddenly got a terrible headache that just wouldn’t go away. She had to go for various tests and was diagnosed with a cerebrospinal fluid leak. It was agony for Kay, and it was the second big illness she’d had in recent years, making her stop and think about what she truly wanted from life.

Taking The Business To Facebook

Luckily, Kay managed to find a surgeon who could heal the fluid leak inside her body and help her get back to normal. She’d suffered from almost a constant headache for about 18 months, but finally, she was starting to feel better. Her marriage broke down a few months later, and since she’d been suffering so badly, her business was struggling too.

The Facebook page for Kay's business

Source: Facebook

That’s when her son had a great idea. As a computer programming expert, he suggested to his mom that she should move the business onto Facebook, as that’s where a lot of people were doing their deals in modern times. So, in 2009, Kay set up a Facebook page for her shop.

Thinking Of Marty All Over Again

Setting up a Facebook page was purely a business decision for Kay, but as she spent more time on the social media site, seeing all the people on there and thinking of all the folks she’d known in the past, her thoughts began to drift back towards Marty.

A blonde woman surfing the internet on her phone while using her laptop

Photo by goodluz / Shutterstock

And one night, while browsing the site on her own personal profile, rather than the business account, she decided to look him up. She typed his name into the search bar, 28 years after last seeing him, and a profile appeared. The name matched, but there was no photo, so she couldn’t really be sure if it was him or not.

A Hopeful Message To A Man She Once Knew

Kay knew that the odds of finding her Marty at the first attempt were probably quite small, but she also knew she didn’t really have anything to lose. The illnesses she’d endured and the breakdown of her marriage really made her think about what she wanted from life and start to value every moment.

Kay and Marty appear on TV

Source: YouTube

She knew that life was precious and delicate. It could change in an instant, and it was so important to make the most of the time we have and try to be happy while we can. So, knowing that this man might bring her some happiness, she decided to send a message to the Marty account, asking if he was the same man she’d once met at the Homestead Air Force Base back in 1980.

Something Special Was Still There

Kay’s message simply said, “Is this the same Marty that was in Homestead in 1980/81 with the Air Force security police?’ If so, it’s Kay, and I am wondering how you are.” She had to wait a couple of days for a reply, but her heart leaped when she saw it. It really was her Marty, after all.

Pictures from Marty's Facebook account

Source: Facebook

He couldn’t believe he was hearing from her again after all those years, and he replied to confirm that he was the very same man she’d once been in love with, almost three decades ago. From that point on, they started messaging back and forth, learning all about each other’s lives

Catching Up After All Those Years

So what came next? Well, Marty and Kay couldn’t really believe their luck at having found each other all over again. Social media had brought them back together as it has for so many other old friends and connections, and it gave them a new chance to get to know one another. They spent many hours in the following days and weeks sending each other messages, learning all about the things they’d been doing.

Pictures of Kay and Marty together again

Source: Facebook

Kay told Marty about her son, her marriage and divorce, her business, and her health issues. Marty, meanwhile, updated Kay on what he’d been doing and how his life had been going in the 28 years since they’d been apart as well. And the more they talked, the more they felt like the spark they once had was still there.

No More Wasted Time

Kay and Marty eventually both admitted to each other: they were in love all over again! And now that they were older and wiser, they didn’t want to waste any time at all. Initially, they planned to meet up together, but Marty decided to go even further than that. He said that he didn’t want to simply visit Kay and then have to leave her again.

Kay's message to Marty before heading to the airport to meet him

Source: Facebook

Instead, he asked her to come to his place in Salt Lake City. Then, he said he was going to sell his house and drive all the way back to Florida with her. Kay knew it felt right and said yes straight away! In September of 2009, she took a flight from Florida to Utah, landing at Salt Lake City and meeting the love of her life.

Marty Starts Working For Kay

When Marty and Kay got back to Florida, Kay introduced Marty to her business and asked if he’d be interested in becoming a part of it. Marty was a little hesitant at first, but the more time he spent at the shop and understood how it worked, the more comfortable he began to feel.

Kay and Marty working together at the consignment shop

Source: Flickr

Kay says that the pair of them worked together “like a machine,” not even needing words to tell each other what to do. They both understand the business perfectly, both knowing exactly what’s in stock, what needs to be sold, and getting the right prices too. And they’re both always thinking of ways to improve the business and take it to the next level.

Finally, They Say “I Do”

In business, just like in love, Kay and Marty were absolutely perfect together. Since they didn’t want to waste any more time and both knew the value of making the most of life, they decided to get engaged and get married too! Their love only seemed to grow stronger the more time they spent together, and it really felt like they’d never ever been apart.

Kay and Marty holding hands in the shop

Source: Flickr

They’d lost a lot of time, but now, they were more than ready to make up for all those years they’d spent with other people or on their own. They work together every day and spend all of their free time side by side, totally happy, and living out their happy ending with one another at last.

A Truly Happy Ending

Kay and Marty were quite truly meant to be. They both feel so lucky to have been given a second chance to make their relationship work, and each and every day feels like a gift. They both agree that they were made for one another, feeling totally compatible, enjoying all the same things, and having lots of fun each and every day.

Kay and Marty smiling together

Source: Imgur

It’s so wonderful to see that these two amazing people got the happiness they both deserved. They had to wait a while to find it, but they both agree that it was worth the wait. Now, they’re living the dream of so many people, spending every day with their soulmate.

Love Always Finds A Way

If there’s one thing we can learn from Kay and Marty’s story, it’s that the old saying of “Love finds a way” really does have a lot of truth. It seemed almost impossible that these two people would ever meet again, let alone both be free, available, and ready to be together in their old age. But somehow, the consequences of life turned out just right for both of them.

Kay and Marty walking along the shore with fishing rods

Source: Flickr

Both Marty and Kay have been through a lot. They’ve experienced life’s ups and downs. They’ve been married and divorced. They’ve seen and done it all, and they had to wait a while for everything to fall into place, but in the end, that’s exactly what happened. Love brought them back together, proving that it’s never too late to reconnect with the right person.

Update: Sadly, Kay posted on her Facebook page on April 4, 2020, that her beloved Marty passed away. May he rest in peace.