LOVE STORY: 30 years in the making

Photo: ABC News

ST. PETERSBERG, FL (ABC News) — When Amy Giberson and Justin Pounders went on their first date, they both felt a strong connection. Neither had any idea just how far back that bond went.

“We showed up on our first date thinking we were total strangers,” Giberson, 33, of St. Petersberg, Fla., told ABC News. “I was immediately taken by his happy energy. He has the happiest go lucky spirit you’ll ever meet. I immediately gathered he was a gentleman.”

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They’ve been inseparable ever since that first date in December 2014.

“We were together from that day forward,” said Giberson. “We fell very much in love very quickly. It knocked me off my feet.”

The couple got the first clue that they had known each other before about a month into their relationship.

“It wasn’t even a month later we were on our way to meet our friends and we were talking about our names or something,” she recalled. “He goes, ‘I’ve always liked the name Amy because my first crush’s name was Amy in preschool.”

Amy jokingly replied that since that Amy wasn’t her, she didn’t care.

“I don’t want to hear about it if it wasn’t me,” she quipped. “The conversation was dropped and I didn’t think anything else about it.”

Their second clue came another month later.

“We’re laying in bed one night and he pointed out a scar on his eyebrow,” said Giberson. “He said, ‘I was at preschool and I fell off the monkey bars at good old Sunshine preschool.'”

It was in that moment that the familiarity hit Giberson.

“I go, ‘What? I went to Sunshine preschool.’ And we also graduated high school at the exact time. I said, ‘Oh my God, we had to have been there at the exact same time. And he goes, ‘Don’t you remember me telling you that my first crush was a girl named Amy?'”

Almost convinced but still not certain, the lovebirds turned to their mothers for help trying to track down old photos.

“We started bugging our moms to get pictures from preschool and my mom keeps all my school photos and report cards in an old album, but somehow the Sunshine preschool pictures were missing,” Giberson explained. “And Justin’s were all scattered and disorganized, and we weren’t even sure if this picture existed.”

But it did.

“Justin’s mom Debbie sent me this picture and I look at it and immediately recognize Justin,” she said. “And then I look over and immediately spot my favorite dress from when I was a little girl. I looked up and said, ‘Oh my God, that’s me.’ I started crying because it just dawned on me that this is official.”

Once it was confirmed that the two were definitely preschool sweethearts, Giberson felt an overwhelming sense of relief.

Click to see full image of couple before and after PHOTO: ABC News

“I was over the moon excited to find out this man I’m madly in love with isn’t just a man, he’s a man I’ve known for my whole life,” she explained.

Pounders had previously been in a serious relationship with another woman to whom he had planned to propose, but the night before they were supposed to move in together she tragically died. It took him years to recover before he mustered up the courage to begin dating again, which is when he found Giberson.

“We do love her. She’s a big part of our life,” Giberson explained. “Had we met any sooner, then she and Justin would have never met. They were meant to meet and meant to have true love before she left here. That’s why we feel we were kept from each other. There’s nothing else that explains why we didn’t meet except that fate preferred it this way.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Pounders had intended to pro