How a random chat on this phone app helped couple form a lasting friendship

By the time of the third date, Sarah Choi figured that Mike Bolin, who runs a public relations agency in Manhattan, would be interested in a different kind of airplane ride than the usual…

How a random chat on this phone app helped couple form a lasting friendship

By the time of the third date, Sarah Choi figured that Mike Bolin, who runs a public relations agency in Manhattan, would be interested in a different kind of airplane ride than the usual sky-high sensation.

“By the time I was halfway through, it was clear this was different. It wasn’t just me or him; it was something deeper and deeper,” Choi, 32, says. “On the first plane ride of our three-date evening, we were talking about miscarriages, watching African tribal dances and Asian dreams of disappearing to eat.”

That was in 2013, and Choi was working as publicist and producer for Time Out New York. Around that time, Bolin, now a writer, decided to escape his New York life and spend a year traveling around the world.

Choi got a job with a non-profit to help run his trip. She got involved in group dinners, and soon things clicked. In January 2014, the two exchanged their first messages, when she told him she was starting a private texting service designed to connect strangers, the group Le Bibi.

“It was so funny,” Choi says. “He started a very sweet, romantic sentence and the only other person in the room started laughing.”

Choi tells how she broke into the New York private client world with her app Sarah, a text app that helps make connections by consolidating pictures and memories between people who would never otherwise meet.

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