When we meet a couple, one of the questions we like to ask is, “so how did you two meet?” The answers involve a high school, work, online dating, and maybe even a matchmaker. But how often do you hear a couple say that they met by accident through a text message? It’s the first time I’ve heard of anything like that. Henry and Kasey would agree that the way they met is super unconventional and even strange.
They would also tell you that what happened after those initial text messages is even stranger and more unlikely. But it’s their story nonetheless. This is how Henry Glendening and Kasey Bergh met through an accidental text message that became the catalyst to a love story that would ultimately land Henry in a hospital bed. Read on to see the unexpected chain of events that created a bond between them that will last forever. Who knew that such an innocent and accidental text would lead to what these two eventually went through!
“Hey, it’s Kasey. I was supposed to connect with Maria in the park but her plane was delayed so I’m at the Westin.” That’s the beginning of a text message that Kasey Berg sent by accident to Henry Glendening. She meant to send it to her colleague, but it landed in Henry’s inbox instead. Kasey was on a business trip in Denver at the time and was hoping to see her friend and colleague on her downtime. She worked for Nestlé-Purina.
The text found its way into Henry’s inbox, who was, at that point, a complete stranger. He received it at about 2 p.m. while driving to work, which was in the paint department at the Lowe’s in Maplewood. While many people would likely ignore a random text message that was obviously sent by accident, Henry felt the need to reply and tell this person that it was a mistake.
Henry wanted to show some courtesy to this person who clearly thinks they sent a message to a friend. He didn’t want her to be left high and dry, so he replied to the text right away. He informed Kasey that she texted the wrong person. “Sorry, you’ve got the wrong number. But if I wasn’t headed to work, I’d be down to hang,” he wrote in his text.
His first response to her first message led to an apology from Kasey, who went on to complain about being stuck in Denver, and how she was unable to connect with her co-workers and make progress on a big project. “I was so frustrated because I couldn’t connect with anyone, and then the only person on the planet I connect with was the wrong number,” Kasey later said in an interview.
It didn’t take long until they realized that they had a lot more in common with each other than they probably thought. The text messages turned into emails (long ones), and the two would discuss their interests and beliefs, discovering how much they were alike. Henry wrote to her, saying that he was planning a trip out West, with a stop in Colorado.
The texting continued. He asked her if she knew of “The Secret,” a best-selling book about the law of attraction. It turns out they both believe in this Law of Attraction, which states that positive thoughts can attract anything you put your mind to. They were clearly beginning a relationship, but as many people would feel in a situation like this, Henry felt that this was too good to be true.
For a week, the two kept texting, recommending books, movies, and music to each other. For the record: Henry loves electronica while Kasey is more of a classic rock fan. But Henry felt like there must be something he doesn’t know about Kasey; that she was keeping something from him. There had to be a secret of some kind, and his instincts were right.
The secret Kasey was hiding from this mystery man was that she was 30 years older than him. It came to a point where he asked her age. “Well, I’m 25 in my heart,” she wrote, avoiding the question the first time. But if they were making plans to meet in person, she knew she had to come clean. “Here it is. I’m 53,” she said.
Her text message stating her age popped up on his phone’s screen. Kasey was worried that the age difference would be a factor that could spoil their developing relationship. But when she gathered up the courage to tell Henry, she was surprised to see that Henry, then 23 years old, didn’t care at all! He continued to talk to her despite the huge age gap.
“It really didn’t make any difference,” Henry later said. “We were so connected at that point through deeper stuff.” One week after their first SMS exchange, the two decided to meet in person and met up at Coffee Cartel in the Central West End. Henry said how it was an instant attraction. “It’s not like she had an aura. I’m not sure how that kind of thing works. But there was this positive, open energy about her,” he said.
After coffee, the two went to Fair St. Louis in Forest Park to see the band Third Eye Blind perform in a concert. Kasey had tickets to the concert and asked Henry if he wanted to come along. And, of course, Henry accepted her offer. It was as though the law of attraction was coming into play already. At the concert, Henry stood behind Kasey and had the guts to place his hands on her waist.
“He was standing behind me and put his hands on my hips, a slightly intimate gesture,” Kasey said. This was a pivotal moment, where she said their relationship moved beyond friendship. They ended up spending the rest of the evening having drinks at Vin de Set, a rooftop restaurant in Lafayette Square.
They decided to meet again for a second date at Kaldi Coffee. Kasey got there early and ordered an iced Mayan Mocha (her go-to drink in the summer). When Henry got there, he ordered the same thing. The universe was showing its signs! Apart from the same coffee order, they found out that they shared other things as well.
It was a short date because Henry had to hit the road and head for Great Basin National Park in Nevada. He told Kasey that he was planning a solo trip to focus on what he wants to do with his life. “I was in this awful place. I didn’t want to do retail forever,” he explained. So their relationship was about to be interrupted.
“I just wanted to take a week and a half, go out West, and go where I can see the stars really, really well. The whole trip was about solitude, reconnecting with the universe and myself.” As Bergh remembers it, she said: “He had sworn up and down that he would not be in contact while gone.” Their new relationship that started with a text was now going to be dormant for a while.
Kasey didn’t know what to expect. She clearly liked the guy and felt that it was a mutual feeling. But they both thought that starting a relationship together would be slim. Henry was in a rocky relationship with another woman, was unhappy with his job, didn’t like his job working in retail, and wanted to unplug and think. Kasey, on the other hand, gave up on love after 6 years of being divorced.
Henry was driving through Kansas when he passed a field with sunflowers. He had emotions surge through him, feeling like Kasey’s energy was there. So he decided to take a little detour and went to the field to and pick out a sunflower which he kept on his dashboard. That sunflower remained there for the rest of his trip.
Henry couldn’t deny the strong feeling and close connection to Kasey. He was starting to think that it wasn’t just a crush. But he told Kasey that he wouldn’t be in contact with her during his trip. But when he got to the western edge of Utah, about half an hour from the national park, he checked himself into a hotel and contacted Kasey.
Henry ended up cutting his trip short by a few days. He said it was because the weather forecast called for cloudy skies, which wasn’t ideal for his plans for stargazing. But I think we can also assume that he just wanted to see Kasey, who meanwhile was listening over and over again to the voice memo that he left for her.
He couldn’t get her off of his mind, and everything was reminding him of her. While Henry tried to remind himself that he needed to stick to his word and not do anything crazy, he ended up caving and left her a voice memo. It simply said: “I love you.” There you go – he said it. Now he just needed to see what she would say.
“I was just like ‘wow.’ Someone else might have seen this guy as over the top,” Kasey later said of how she felt when receiving that voice message. But that three-word message didn’t freak her out. It did, however, make her rethink her thoughts on having a serious relationship. Kasey was still getting to know him, but there was something real between them.
“From the very, very beginning, it felt like we were on the same wavelength,” Henry said. Kasey kept replaying the voicemail again and again. They never would have guessed that a mistake text message would bring them to this point – to this declaration of love. And they especially had no idea of what was in store for them.
At that point, Kasey was divorced and had been single for years. “I had totally embraced that I was single and that I never needed a guy,” she explained. “Then, I met Henry.” She decided to give love another chance and very soon, Henry and Kasey became a couple. And their friends and families were really happy for them.
Despite the age gap, their friends accepted the fact that they seemed to be meant for each other. No one voiced any doubts or reservations about their relationship. Henry and Kasey were simply a good fit for each other, despite the age difference. They brought out the best in each other, and Kasey was good at helping Henry figure out for himself which direction to go in his life, which was at a major turning point.
Before he met Kasey, he often felt like his life was going nowhere. “Kasey is a huge inspirer. She wasn’t recommending or advocating any particular direction I go, but she encouraged exploring, finding out what I want to do.” He went to the University of Missouri in Columbia but never finished. He was also interested in developing apps.
Kasey suggested that he begin “informational interviews to find out how people got to where they got to.” A friend of Henry’s worked at a digital agency and agreed to introduce him to the head of the company. After a chat with the guy, Henry was offered an internship, which then led to a job.
But at that point, Henry was still living at home with his parents…
Their partnership was unorthodox, and even though their families and friends accepted it, everyone else was still adjusting to it. An age gap of 30 years is uncommon, especially when the woman is the much older one of the pair. “You can’t blame them,” Henry said of people who gave them looks. “It’s not a relationship you see very often. One that defies the age stereotype.”
Kasey was an executive working for Purina, and Henry was meeting her colleagues, most of whom were high up on the corporate ladder. The couple would attend work functions. “Initially, there was that social anxiety, that people would think he was my son,” Kasey said. But with time, the anxiety decreased and the two became more secure.
It was only two months after that first text message that they decided to take the next step. Kasey had her own place, while Henry was still living with his parents. So they figured moving in together was the right move. Henry then moved out of his parents’ house and into Kasey’s apartment in Lafayette Square.
Both Kasey and Henry believed that things happen for a reason. A text message brought him to Kasey, who became the love of his life. He was living with her, admired her, appreciated her, and knew that it was a matter of time until he would go ahead and pop the big question. At this point, they had been together for two years.
On June 29, 2014, two years after Kasey sent that text, they went to Vin De Set, the restaurant where they had their first drinks together after the concert. Henry had it all planned out. While they were sitting at a table having dinner, he excused himself to go to the bathroom. He went over to an employee and handed him his iPod. His instructions were: “Wait for 15 to 20 seconds before pushing play.”
He then walked back to the table, dropped down to one knee, pulled out a ring box from his pocket, and held it open for Kasey to see. As he was proposing to her, Kasey could hear her favorite song playing quietly in the background. “I knew he had arranged that too. It’s not a song you’d typically hear in a place like that,” she said. The song? Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You.”
“If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you. When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me…”
Yes, obviously, she said yes to Henry! Kasey later recounted how she had come a long way from a girl who thought that she didn’t need a man in her life to say yes to the man of her dreams. But no one expected that the couple would end up getting married. But that’s exactly what they did. Three years after their first exchange, Henry and Kasey got married.
They wed at the floodwall of the Mississippi River, which was a spot covered by graffiti by local artists from St. Louis. It was one of Henry’s favorite spots and what he thought would be an ideal place for them to get hitched.
Things were going great for the newlyweds until things took a turn for the worse…
After everything was going well for a while, things started to go south. Kasey had an underlying health condition. Her kidneys were failing, and it was starting to take over her daily life. She had to undergo 3 to 4 dialysis treatments every week. The couple knew that it was going to be a serious problem because she had a kidney transplant years before they met.
This wasn’t a secret or anything, though. Kasey was upfront about her health, and Henry knew about the transplant and the impending health issues before they got married. He was aware that Kasey would need a new kidney soon, but that wasn’t going to stop him from being with her. In sickness and in health, right?
Nearly 20 years ago, Kasey went through the same process of finding a kidney donor. She knew how difficult it would be to do it all over again. The average time it takes to find a kidney transplant is five years, so they had to accept that the dialysis treatments would have to continue and become a part of their life.
They were now two years into their marriage, and all of their plans were going to have to be put on hold. Henry was a helper and doer and determined to find a way to help the woman whom he loved so much. He was desperate to find a solution. And desperate times call for desperate measures. So Henry came up with a solution…
Henry wanted to see if he would be able to donate his own kidney to his wife. This would be seen as quite odd since most of the kidneys that are donated to those in need are from relatives, not spouses. However, Henry didn’t wanna give up. He knew he was going to have to undergo many tests to determine whether or not his kidney was even viable for Kasey.
But that wasn’t going to stop him from trying. So he went through a series of tests to see if he would be a match. The tests showed that he was indeed a positive match and able to donate his kidney. The doctors wanted him to know, though, that Kasey’s body could reject the kidney.
Yet, in spite of all the risks, Henry knew that he wanted to give his kidney to his wife. He had no second thoughts. The tests showed that Henry had the blood group O, which meant he could technically donate an organ to a person of any blood type. Kasey had a low volume of antibodies that could potentially attack Henry’s kidney.
Her doctors even said, “Not only did she marry her soul mate, but she married her immunologic soul mate.” What are the chances? The doctors themselves were amazed at what they were witnessing. When Kasey told her doctors how the two had met, the staff at the hospital started to cry. It was an emotional and inspiring story in the making. And they were a part of it.
John Herlihy, who is a close friend of the couple, came to visit Kasey on the last day of her dialysis before her surgery. He brought her balloons to make her feel better. Some people from a local coffee shop, who were also friends of the couple, came to wish her well. They had clearly made friends and inspired people around them.
The day arrived, and the couple made their way to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. The following few hours would decide their future. The doctors prepared to remove one of Henry’s kidneys and prepare the transfer to Kasey. As they said their goodbyes before getting wheeled away, Kasey said to Henry: “We’re doing this thing, huh?” and Henry said, “YES.”
The doctor talked to Henry and his father about the surgery and informed them of all the risks that were involved in donating a kidney. Henry was aware of all of the risks, but he had no second thoughts. He was ready to go through with it. He saw it as the logical choice since he wouldn’t have any trouble living with one kidney.
However, to this day, Kasey doesn’t think that it was logical that drove Henry to do this incredible deed. She believes that the decision was not logical at all. That instead, he was driven by his love for her. She was constantly amazed by the things Henry was doing for her and was very grateful. Now it was a matter of time to see what the results were.
Both surgeries were successful. There was a necessary but brief recovery period which meant that Henry and Kasey wouldn’t be able to see each other. Henry’s parents were supportive during the whole process and waited with him by his hospital bed until he was able to see his wife again. Henry was pretty much out of it, but he was eager to see Kasey.
That night was hard for Kasey because she was suffering from bouts of nausea. When morning came, the first thing she saw was a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers in her hospital room. Remember the sunflowers that Henry saw on his solo trip? Henry ordered the sunflowers days before this morning came, knowing = they would cheer her up. And they did.
Henry finally went over to Kasey’s room with his parents, and everyone was so happy to hear that the surgeries were a success. Kasey remembers asking Henry if he really did give her his kidney. Henry softly replied with a “yes.” A full recovery was a long way to go, but Kasey was now off the hook for dialysis treatments.
The couple was released from the hospital, but they still had to follow a very strict recovery regimen. Kasey definitely had it harder than Henry since she had to take 11 pills a day to keep her body from rejecting her new kidney. While the chances were slim, the doctors weren’t going to take any chances. Henry, too, had to take some pills daily.
Henry knew that they were going to need a hobby to pass the time while they were recovering at home. He decided to try his favorite childhood toys: Legos. He bought a set before being admitted to the hospital. It may seem childish, but it helped him pass the time. Even Kasey helped him every now and then.
Every day, the couple took short walks to make sure Kasey would gain her strength back. It also allowed them to bond even more. After their walks, Kasey would get tired and take a short nap before continuing on with the rest of her day. Their four cats also served as a welcome distraction for both of them.
They also decided to memorialize something special…
The couple decided to turn their text messages into framed art. They saw it as a token of their first conversation as strangers and an homage to what it turned out to be. The framed art hangs on the walls in their home and reminds them of their special story. They say that it also humbles them to realize that there’s always a bigger plan in action.
Word of their story entered the mainstream, and there was a lot of buzz around this amazing couple who were lucky to have each other in their lives. Their love story went viral after a local newspaper published a piece about them. They started to receive mail from people around the world with words of encouragement and admiration.
The couple created a blog where they would keep people updated on their daily lives and the status of their relationship. It allowed readers from around the world to get a personal view of their relationship and their story. The couple documented their travels and future prospects and common interests. They also spoke of the requests people were making of them.
With all the love and admiration that came pouring in from all parts of the world, people were asking Henry and Kasey to turn their love story into a TV series or even a movie. But they didn’t plan on doing any of that. The blog should suffice. In the blog, Henry and Kasey have some messages that they like to share.
First of all, Henry encourages everyone healthy to donate a kidney or be an organ donor which can increase the chances of someone getting a much-needed kidney somewhere in the country. He says this can mean saving or improving up to 75 lives for every person who becomes an organ donor. With those numbers, donating a kidney was a logical choice!
The couple says the success of their relationship is thanks to five simple things: affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. They believe that it takes these five things to make a relationship really work, and if any of them are missing it could lead to the downfall of a relationship.
Henry and Kasey are avid readers, and a lot of their broad perspectives come from the various books that they read. They also find solace in times of need by reading books. They said in their blog how they highly recommend The Celestine Prophecy, a book that Henry read after a friend of his had disappeared and passed away under mysterious circumstances.
He said the book gave him an insight into how things happen in life. Kasey and Henry’s story may sound too good to be true, but it’s just what it is. The couple believes they met for a reason and that the Universe or God or whatever had a plan for them. Kasey said ever since she was 23, opportunities presented themselves to her, and Henry was one that came along.
A few months after the kidney transplant, Kasey and Henry are happy and attending activities like baseball games and concerts. People who know them well say it does not look like they underwent surgery at all. They recovered so well, and it is likely due to their bond and dedication to one another. Such endings are rare today, where we almost expect something bad to happen.
But if there was any couple that deserved such a fairy tale ending, it was Henry and Kasey. Henry and Kasey aren’t the only couples where one gives an organ to the other. In their case, it was successful and all is well. But that’s not always the case. Take the next couple for example…
Samantha Lamb saved her husband’s life when she gave him one of her kidneys. But after he got better, he left her. Samantha, a mother of one child, is furious because she believes that her husband Andy cheated on her. And because of that, she wants to take her organ back! Not for herself, but to give it to “someone more deserving.”
Andy denies ever cheating on her. Samantha, age 41, told the Sunday People: “I can’t believe he now has a second chance to live to see his grandchildren grow up. I would definitely go through the operation again, but I wouldn’t give the kidney to him. I hate him. If I could, I’d take it back and give it someone else.”
Samantha said that she doesn’t want people to be put off adding their names to the organ donor list. But all she wants from her husband is his name on the divorce papers. Samantha met Andy, age 45, while they were both drivers for a private ambulance firm. And, of course, things went very well at first.
She recalled how they got together in 2004. He was on living on in Essex, and she was in London. “Andy was quick-witted and used to make me laugh. He had loads of one-liners.” They split up and got back together and ended up getting married in 2007. “We had a nice life, although there were signs that Andy wasn’t what I had hoped for. He was controlling, like not letting me wear perfume every day.”
Samantha admits that by the time they planned to go under the knife and go through with the kidney transplant surgery, there were already some warning signs and that she should have spotted them. They had a three-bedroom house on a lovely street, and they thought they were happy. “Then, Andy became sick. His kidneys were failing. But he didn’t face up to it; he just got angry.”
“He thought the world was against him and everyone else was to blame. I loved him and wanted him to get better, but his moods were awful and he’d take it out on me.” Eventually, she made a very brave decision and even had to persuade him to accept one of her kidneys.
“His condition had deteriorated. He needed a new kidney, or he would die. He was on dialysis three times a week.” She told her sick husband that he should go through with it. He already had children from another relationship and so he wanted to be there for them. That was the reason he went through with the transplant.
Before and after the kidney surgery, the couple was filmed for a BBC documentary about organ donation. Samantha said that it was the crew’s presence that made her scared that her sacrifice would not have a happy ending. “As soon as I went through with it, I knew I had done the wrong thing. Andy looked really ill before the operation, gaunt and grey.”
After the transplant, Samantha felt awful, like she had been hit by a train. Meanwhile, Andy was the “picture of health and full of color.” She noticed how he had shaved for the camera. And when she mentioned it to him, he basically growled at her: “Don’t talk to me like that.” What a way to talk to someone who just gave you their kidney!
According to Samantha, everything went downhill from then on. Andy was as moody and resentful as he was before, even worse. He told her that she was never to mention the transplant surgery to anyone. “He said I could never throw it in his face,” she explained in the interview. For some reason, he was angry at her.
“I’m sure the anger was caused by guilt,” Samantha figured. “He would spend hours on his laptop and then pick a fight that would end with him leaving for hours.” Then he would tell her that he was sitting in a parking lot, thinking. But she knew what he was really up to. She knew she had to confront him.
She confronted Andy about having an affair with her friend, Clare. “My mom and sister saw him with his arm around her. He denied it and stormed out.” She said they tried to salvage their broken marriage for the sake of Samantha’s daughter from a previous marriage, Beatrice. But she still felt like he was cheating, and so she confronted her friend.
Samantha said how Clare admitted to the affair and said she was in love with him. “I wanted to throttle Andy,” Samantha said. She got Clare to phone him and put him on the speaker. She wanted to hear his reaction when she told him, ‘Sam knows.’ And what did he say? He just said, ‘Oh.’ And what did Samantha do?
“I did what any woman would do. I cut up his clothes, put them in black garbage bags, and left them outside the house.” Apparently, she took him back for one more try. Only to find out that he was having online chats with women. Andy left for good in August of 2012, with his new kidney and all.
Samantha just wants a divorce. She is trying to get on with her life and deal with the frustration. And every time she sees her operation scar, she is reminded of how ungrateful her husband was. “At least he always has to remember where his kidney came from.” Andy was interviewed to see what he had to say about all this.
“I did walk out on Samantha after she’d donated her kidney, but I wasn’t unfaithful. I never wanted her to donate her kidney because it was a big risk. But she insisted, and I’ll always owe her my life. I loved her but our relationship wasn’t working. We had big rows and her family never liked me. Despite what Samantha believes, I’ve never been with her friend. I just helped train her dog.”