When WOIO (Cleveland) Reporter Ed Gallek met WJW Channel 8 Reporter Peggy Sinkovich, he wouldn't make eye contact.
Now the getting married this weekend.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that love almost didn't get a chance, thanks to a particularly shortsighted moment on Gallek's part.
Cue flashback. Two years ago.
Sinkovich went to work for Channel 8's I-Team in September 2012. One of the I-Team directors said to her, "Do you know Ed Gallek? We want you to be like him."
"So I started looking at his work and thought, 'This guy is really good,' " Sinkovich said. "I wanted to meet him, and one of the photographers at our station worked with him and told me he was a great guy."
A few weeks later, on Nov. 30, she got her chance. Both were assigned to cover the previous night's Cleveland police chase that turned deadly. Both were sitting in a police conference room.
"So my photographer said, 'Go for it. Go over and introduce yourself,' " Sinkovich said. "So I did. And you know what? He never looked up. He was texting on his phone. He never raised his head or anything."
Gallek heard a voice say, "Hi, I'm Peggy. I just started at Fox 8. Your work is great. And I really wanted to meet you."
"I think we met before," he said, still looking at his phone. They hadn't.
How did Sinkovich respond?
"I slunk back to my chair, and then Paul Orlousky came over and said, 'Ed is kind of shy,' " she said. "So it was kind of not a great first meeting. But the second time he came up to me and started talking, and we became friends. Then we started seeing each other at meetings all the time."
Gallek confirms that Sinkovich isn't exaggerating how that first when-Peggy-met-Ed encounter played out.
"I think that would be accurate," he said. "I didn't really look at her. In my defense, it was a huge story, and I was overwhelmed. My mind was going in 100 different directions, although that doesn't excuse my behavior. But I'm glad she gave me a second opportunity. I almost blew a lifetime opportunity to get to know her."
"Sometimes, professionally, our paths cross, but not every day," Gallek said. "If I'm working on the same story as Peggy, then she's a competitor. But personally, she's a soul mate."
There have been some of those "sleeping with the enemy" jokes in their respective newsrooms, of course, but the reporters' romance was quickly accepted at both stations.
"We were dating for a while before people realized it, so there was no, 'Gee, how is this going to work?' " Gallek said. "It already was working. And you hear more of the lighthearted comments from the people you cover. They'll say, 'Well, should I call you first or should I call Peggy?' That kind of thing. But they respect the fact that we keep the personal side separate."
They started dating in July 2013. Facebook friends with Sinkovich, Gallek discovered that she collects old typewriters. He had one at his house and asked her if she was interested. She was.
They announced their engagement a year later.