VACAVILLE — It was a series of circumstances that led Johnsie Hunter to the love of her life.
For Makau Hunter, it was an emergency toilet paper run that took him to a store he usually avoided – and straight into a whirlwind year that peaked with a November wedding.
Johnsie Hunter was working her first holiday season as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army and happened to be in front of the Vacaville Walmart on Dec. 1, 2012, when Air Force retiree Makau happened to pass by.
“We just spoke briefly just for a second, the ‘Merry Christmas, have a good day,’ and he said something about my smile,” Johnsie Hunter said. “Because he walked past me and then he stepped back and he came over and he donates and says, ‘You have a really inviting smile.’ Or something like that.”
Makau Hunter gave her his business card. Within a month, they were in love and he popped the question.
“He goes to his car and he gets his business card and he comes back and he hands it to me, and I’m looking at him like, ‘I have two questions. No. 1, how do I pronounce your name and No. 2, You build custom fishing rods?’ ” Johnsie Hunter said. “I’m like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ Because literally that day I wanted to go fishing because it was the one day in the season I could have gone fishing. I got off early, it was a Saturday and it was a beautiful day in December.”
She didn’t get to go fishing.
“They came to pick up my kettle at the post office at 1 p.m. instead of 2 and was I getting off early? No, they asked me to come to Walmart and ring. So I came to Walmart instead,” she said.
“So the fishing trip was off, but apparently I caught a big fish I wasn’t expecting.”
“The stars aligned for her and me. Mine was toilet paper,” he said with a laugh.
The ensuing year has been an adventure for the couple.
“Whirlwind is the best way to say it,” Makau Hunter said. “Walked in, I saw her. Didn’t really pay too much attention to her.”
But he noticed how well spoken she was and that she could carry on a conversation.
“I saw her smile, and I literally backed my car up,” he said.
As the pair got to know one another, it became clear to each that this was meant to be.
“I asked for three things in life from God: She can fish, she can drink beer and she can work on a car,” Makau Hunter said. “She can fish, she loves beer, and within four days we were at Pick-N-Pull.”
For Johnsie Hunter, it goes even further back than that first day.
“I literally was at church one day and I decided – I felt like I was being led back to Vacaville,” she said. “There’s nothing for me in Vacaville. I’m fine where I’m at (in Sacramento).”
But she decided to follow that calling and applied for one job in Vacaville, figuring if she got the job she’d take it as a sign.
“The one place I applied for, I got,” she said.
Moving back to town over the Thanksgiving holiday, Johnsie Hunter said her mother got a call asking her to ring for the Salvation Army again. That wasn’t something she said she’d considered doing, but she signed up. So she started ringing and that led her to the front of Walmart that day.
Looking back, it’s amazing to the pair to see how it all happened.
“All the little pieces of the puzzle were being put together,” she said. “After these things happened it was like, ‘Hold on, I was being prepared for that and I didn’t even know it.’ ”
The pair married on Nov. 12.
It’s a heck of a story, the two said.
“We’ll have to call Hallmark,” Johnsie Hunter said, joking.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.