Darrell & Kristina O’Quinn’s love story featured on NPR’s “1A”

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Kristina and Darrell O'Quinn at their prom when they were 18 years old. Photo courtesy of Kristina O'Quinn.
Kristina and Darrell O’Quinn at their prom when they were 18 years old. Photo courtesy of Kristina O’Quinn.

NPR’s “1A” recently featured one of Birmingham’s most active political couples. City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn and his wife Kristina have a love story worthy of national radio play. We talked to Kristina and Darrell to learn more.

Darrell and Kristina O’Quinn met over thirty-two years ago. Their love story is one of Birmingham’s best kept secrets. 

Kristina shared the details of their romance in an email to NPR’s “1A.” The show’s host read the transcript during the show’s “Seeing ‘Love in Color’” episode

“When I was sixteen years old, I was roller skating with a friend when we dared each other to ask some handsome boys to skate with us.  I took the dare and spent the night talking to a boy as best I could, over the blaring music, until it was time to go.  He was such a good skater, I assumed he had tons of girlfriends.  Weeks later, musing to a friend on the school bus I said, ‘What if I met him again and we fell in love and got married?’  She said, ‘Shut up!  That’s so stupid.’ Four months later, at the same rink, I was knocked over by an extremely embarrassed young man who I immediately recognized from our previous meeting.  We skated and talked for the rest of the skate session.  When it was time to go, he handed me a slip of paper with his phone number on it, stating, ‘I’m not letting you get away again.’ Well, my lovestruck teen wish came true.  That was thirty-two years ago and I’m still crazy about him,”

Kristina O’Quinn wrote in the original email
Kristina and Darrell O'Quinn at their prom when they were 18 years old. Photo courtesy of Kristina O'Quinn.
Kristina and Darrell O’Quinn at their prom when they were 18 years old. Photo courtesy of Kristina O’Quinn.

“1A” thought the story was special, and we agree! Young love that lasts 32 years is a rare feat. 

More on the romance

The O’Quinns’ love story was full of coincidences from its beginning. 

“The night after we met for real, we both went home to our moms and said ‘Gosh mom, I found this person. I think this is for real and I think this is who I’m supposed to be with.’ We found out later that we both did the same thing,” Kristina O’Quinn told us. 

The next day, the O’Quinns had a rocky first date on the Fourth of July.

“His friends were embarassing him the whole time, dinner took forever to be served, so we got stuck in the holiday traffic and missed the fireworks,” Kristina O’Quinn remembered.

Kristina gave Darrell another chance, though, and they’re together 32 years later.

Kristina and Darrell O'Quinn at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society benefit gala 30 years later. Photo courtesy of Kristina O'Quinn.
Kristina and Darrell O’Quinn at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society benefit gala 30 years later. Photo courtesy of Kristina O’Quinn.

The O’Quinns were honored and excited to be featured on NPR.

“I was so overwhelmed. I’ve been an NPR fan my entire life. I’m the one who chokes up and cries when I hear sweet stories of other people, and so when I heard it and it was mine, I was just floored,” Kristina O’Quinn explained.

For more information on finding love in Birmingham, check out 8 outdoor date experiences you can enjoy in Birmingham this summer!

Do you have a unique Birmingham romance? Tag @bhamnow and share the love!