WASHINGTON — A missing marriage certificate could have meant health care and immigration problems for D.C. newlyweds Katie Wall and Jose Mansen, but some good Samaritans came to their rescue.
Wall had recently completed her master's in public health at George Washington University. Mansen had been living in D.C. for the last four years on a student visa from Lima, Peru to study medicine.
As often happens in the modern-day love story, the two met on Bumble. They hit it off, talking the rest of the night.
Months later, they decided to move in together. Then, the coronavirus pandemic hit the District.
"We were together 24-7, and I lost my job, which was a huge amount of stress," Wall said.
At the same time, Mansen had been studying for a big medical exam, and the operating centers shut down.
“It was s a lot of stress, because his family is in Lima, and Peru is one of the hot spots in South America for COVID," Wall said. "My parents are in Florida, so it was actually kind of crazy, because out of all this chaos, we really fell in love with each other. And, we learned we were able to survive these catastrophes and these dramas that were unique and hopefully always are going to be unique to our time. We deal with a lot of things, job loss and stress and illness, but a pandemic -- how do you prepare for that in a relationship?”
The young couple decided to get married during the pandemic and virtually took their oaths. They immediately sent off the paperwork for their marriage certificate, came home, and celebrated with their cats.
For a while, nothing came.
In the meantime, Wall had found a job and needed to submit paperwork for health insurance. But for Mansen, a student without health care benefits, to be added to her plan in 2020, the clock was ticking down.
“It came down to the last possible day," Wall said. "It was literally the last day we could apply for health insurance, that we could get all our immigration stuff in, and I got this letter in the mail…and it was this note, and it was like this really cute note from neighbors or people in D.C. saying congrats on your marriage, your certificate was sent to the wrong address, and we wanted to make sure it got back to you, signed Amy and Kevin.”
The two were floored.
“That kind of solidified in our opinion that D.C. is full of really good people and really heartfelt people that are there for each other in this catastrophic time," Wall said. "I was not expecting this. It gave us more of a reason to stay and more of a feeling of community, so it was a really exciting moment.”
Without the certificate, Wall said her new husband wouldn't have been able to get health care until 2021 -- and he potentially will be working in hospitals with coronavirus patients.
Also, Mansen's residency opportunities would be severely limited without the green card the marriage provides.
“I really wanted to reach out and just show them how much this meant to us, not only because we were running the clock in terms of health care and immigration, but also from a neighborly standpoint, how much it made us feel like people were looking out for each other," Wall said.
She posted on reddit last week in search of their guardian angels -- but is still searching for Amy and Kev.
If you know them -- or are them -- please reach out to the WUSA 9 team. The young couple wants to thank you.
"What you considered a small act of kindness meant so much to us," Wall said.
They're hoping to celebrate their marriage with both families next year.