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TRAFFIC ALERT: 'Drawbridge dance party' passes time for stuck Michigan couple

Jared Benes and Kelly Achino got stuck in traffic behind the Grand Haven drawbridge. While waiting for the bridge to descend, they got out of their car and danced.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Many well-known psychologists have said that most everything in life can be attributed to the point where timing and circumstances intersect. When we face a situation with 'bad timing, it's what we choose to do with the 'circumstances' that will ultimately determine the outcome.

A West Michigan couple turned a bout of bad timing into a positive and memorable outcome, and everybody stuck in traffic on the Grand Haven drawbridge got to see it happen.

Credit: Jared Benes & Kelly Achino
Jared Benes and Kelly Achino got stuck at the Grand Haven drawbridge on their way to an event. To pass the time, the couple got out of their car and danced.

On Friday, May 21, Jared Benes and his fiancé, Kelly Achino, were driving south on U.S. 31 in Grand Haven, heading to a dance event in Spring Lake.

The trip between cities isn't long when the drawbridge is down, but when it goes up, traffic can be backed up for miles and for a considerable amount of time.

"We were already a little late for the event," said Jared. "Then suddenly, we realized we were going to be a lot late."

As the couple was about to cross the drawbridge, the traffic light turned yellow, causing them to stop. While they waited at the red light, the drawbridge gate started to swing downward, blocking traffic from being able to cross and indicating the bridge was about to go up.

"I looked at Kelly and said, "Yup. We're going to be here for a few minutes.'"

Kelly simply wasn't in the mood to sit there and count the minutes until the bridge finally started to go back down.

"I had a gorgeous dress on and he was wearing a fantastic tuxedo," she said. "We were on our way to a dance so I said, 'Let's get out and dance.'"

Jared, admittedly not the fearless risk-taker Kelly is, was apprehensive at first, but with more coaxing from his future wife, he decided to do it.

"We cranked up the stereo in the car and started dancing right there on the bridge," said Jared. "People were honking and and hollering and enjoying it."

Jared and Kelly say they started full-blown swing dancing, complete with several twirls and dips.

"Some guy got out of his car about ten vehicles back, ran up to us and asked me it I would twirl him," said Jared. "So, I did, and then he ran back to his car."

Jared and Kelly's dance lasted close to two minutes before they realized they had to pay attention to the bridge.

"We both were able to keep an eye on it because we both were twirling," added Jared. "If we're both spinning, both sets of eyes are on it."

The bridge began descending, forcing Jared and Kelly to end their dance, get back inside their car and go so they wouldn't be holding up traffic any longer.

"It was a Hallmark moment," said Jared. "We're going to have that forever."

"I make a lot of decisions in life to not have any regrets," added Kelly. "Why have a sour attitude for running late to a dance; why not dance where we're at."

Jared and Kelly's wedding is on Saturday, July 3 in Spring Lake. They say there's no way they will become one of those 'old, boring, married couples.' They say if they ever find themselves stuck at the drawbridge again, they will have no problem turning up the tunes, hopping out of their car, and cutting a rug - or in this case, concrete.

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