SALT LAKE CITY — Thursday, many women — and men, for that matter — hope for a bouquet of roses, a heart-shaped box of chocolates or simply a Valentine's Day card from that special someone that professes their love and affection.
Frank Guido of Livermore, Calif., simply wants a reply to the personal ad he's placed in The Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune:
Riomaggiore, Italy train platform
9/26 2012 morning: SL woman
on way to Lucca sought by Livermore, Ca.
man. Contact Frank (925) 989-2276 or
It was raining that fall morning, and train passengers had ducked inside a tunnel to wait out the storm. It was then that Guido snapped a photograph of the train tunnel and platform, unknowingly capturing the people the woman was traveling with, and possibly her.
She was wearing jeans and a lightweight top. Her brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail. She was traveling with a couple, but they were splitting up for the next leg of the trip. She was en route to Lucca while the couple was off to Sicily.
He did not catch her name.
Guido, 49, was traveling with his older brother, Joe, and Joe's wife and a family friend. Joe Guido frequently strikes up conversations with strangers, which is, in part, how this chance meeting occurred.
In the course of talking to the Salt Lake woman, Joe erred in talking about the location of the Rock of Gibraltar.
Not wanting to embarrass his brother, Frank made a joke about his brother's strained geography. "She gave me a knowing look."
They chatted a bit more. He learned that the woman, who was 35-40 years old, had lived in Salt Lake City for six years.
"It just felt like we seemed to get each other's little jokes and have an instant sort of something," he said.
As the minutes ticked by, Guido was charmed by the woman. But when it came time for them to part, he was flustered about what to say.
"All I could muster was, 'Visit Livermore sometime.'"
That was nearly five months ago, and Guido said he has regretted not saying something more memorable, or at least learning the woman's name.
"As soon as the train arrived, I just immediately felt this bad feeling, I just really regret that," said Guido, who is a land-use planner.
Joe Guido said he doesn't remember a lot about the woman because "I wasn't checking her out. I was there with my wife" of 36 years.
But he does remember his brother's interest in the woman, whom he described as athletic, with a "hiker-type build" about 5 feet 7 inches tall.
"I remember he said he liked her wittiness, her intelligence, that she wasn't a slug. … (She was) the kind of woman he'd probably like long term."
Joe Guido said he hopes his brother finds someone special. "It would be nice if he could find his soulmate and live happily ever after," he said.
Frank is a "really thoughtful person," his brother said.
"He's academic, well educated. He's about 5 foot 9 (inches) with an average build. He's athletic. I think we all have pretty good looks. He's really a good person. He'd give you the shirt off his back."
Frank Guido is holding to hope that the chance meeting could lead to something more.
"I didn't immediately decide to put the ad in, but it's been a little bit under my skin. I felt like I'd regret it if I didn't do something."
It's a longshot, but Guido says he figures it's worth a try. He's run the newspaper ad on two occasions and briefly posted an ad online but took it down after he was inundated with spam.
"After this ad finishes this week, I’m going to put it behind me. I did what I could," he said.
"I guess I'm just a romantic at heart."
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