With the benefit of hindsight, Shirley Stewart admits it might have been a good thing when her 14-year-old daughter, Jashirele, got suspended from school eight years ago. It was the unlikely beginning of a long-time romance.
While running errands at IKEA in Elizabeth with her mom, the teenager played matchmaker between her mother and a handsome customer.
“I told my mom, ‘Oh, he’s cute,’” Jashirele Stewart recalls.
For nearly an hour, mom and daughter skulked through the departments the man was in, from rugs to bathrooms, trying to figure out if he was single. Unafraid, Jashirele introduced herself and asked for his number.
“I panicked,” said Shirley Stewart, who works at AAA.
On Saturday morning, Shirley Stewart, and Berkeley “Rashid” Smith, who now live together in Newark, returned to that fateful spot in the IKEA’s frame department. He wore a tux; she wore a white wedding dress.
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