More than 30 years ago, BCIT alumni Lynn and Simon Wong were young students at BCIT when their relationship bloomed in 1987. It was a classic romance that survived the rigours of BCIT and led to marriage in 1992 and produced their two children, Joey and Emma. But in 2015, their life took an unexpected turn when Simon, who worked for the Surrey RCMP at the time, suffered a near-fatal anoxic brain injury while exercising.
Since the injury, Simon requires 24/7 care, but Lynn says they stay connected through their shared sense of humour and reminiscing about their early days at BCIT together.
Two hearts for hospitality
The couple met in class during their first year in the BCIT Hospitality Management program.
When it comes to first impressions, Lynn shares that Simon’s mystery, intelligence, and good looks caught her eye. Simon and Lynn’s first date was in 1987 at Checkers on Denman Street, where they went as a group to celebrate completing a big project.
“Some classmates teased us for acting like a couple, but we insisted we were just friends,” explains Lynn. “But on the walk back to the car that evening, something clicked. We realized our classmates were right. Five years later we were married.”
After their first date, Lynn says they hung out on campus at the J.W. Inglis building, and occasionally at the ball courts and student pub, between classes.
“Simon was always doing crosswords before class – the hard ones!” Lynn recalls affectionately. “He was the strong, silent type with a huge smile.”
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Love blooms beyond BCIT
After graduating in 1988, the couple put their hospitality training from BCIT to good use. Lynn says that BCIT prepared them well. Both worked in the hotel industry—Lynn for three years and Simon for more than 20.
After their careers in tourism, Lynn worked in the insurance industry for 28 years before becoming a Home Care Coordinator. Simon shifted gears to become a Community Safety Officer with the Surrey RCMP, and is now retired.
Beyond their professional lives, they take great pride in their personal achievements, raising two children who are 28 and 25 years old, and celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary in 2021.
While life looks very different for the couple since Simon’s injury in 2015, their love for each other remains stronger than ever. Despite struggles with speaking and his memory, Simon is able to share what he loves most about Lynn: “Everything.”
What is the secret to this couple’s long-lasting relationship? Lynn says they keep learning about one another through listening, laughing, and sharing unconditional love.
“He may not be able to describe where he is or remember what happened 20 minutes ago, but on a good day, I’ll ask how we met and he’ll whisper, ‘BCIT’.”
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