By Nathalie Bonney @NathalieBonney
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Videographer / director: Chris Sinclair
Producer: Nathalie Bonney, Ruby Coote
Editor: Garry Sykes
After agreeing they couldn’t date, the colleagues decided to meet for a lunch to clear the air – only to talk for hours and realise they had far more in common than the company they worked for.
Now a couple, Rick and Alyssa have been dating for over a year and say they are in it for the long run, in spite of the decades difference between them.
Alyssa told Barcroft TV: “I'm in love with Rick for sure. And I'm just waiting for a ring at this point.”
She joked: “If it means changing his diapers, I'm in it for the long haul. I could be hit by a car tomorrow.
"No one knows you know how long we have on this earth. And so I think just spending it with the people you love despite, him getting older, quicker. It’s all we can really do.”
Even before matching on the dating app, Rick admits noticing Alyssa when she started at the same workplace – but he didn’t make the connection that the same person he’d noticed at work, he’d also swiped right for on Tinder.
He said: “Right out of the gate when the company I worked for hired her, I kind of noticed her. And she sort of stood apart from everybody else, because she had this energy.
“But the thing is, for whatever reason I didn’t connect that picture and her profile with the girl from work.”
By contrast Alyssa realised exactly who had liked her.
She said: “I messaged him because I recognised him immediately and I was like, 'What are you doing? We can’t date'."
On realising what he had done, Rick was worried Alyssa would think he’d intentionally abused his position of authority and proposed they meet for lunch to clear the air.
“I had a lot to lose if I’m the guy in the corner office, and here’s somebody that just started," Rick said.
"You can’t do that in a company. You just can’t because she could then feel like if she wasn’t interested then it feels like a hostile workplace like here’s this guy using his power or authority and I wanted to diffuse any of that.
“And we didn’t just work together, it was a company with 200 employees and I was running the company.”
But when the two went for lunch, the chemistry was undeniable and six weeks later Rick had left his job and the couple were dating.
Rick said: “Once we started seeing each other, it was like we saw each other almost every day. It was really like, boom, boom, boom; we accelerated pretty quickly.
“And then, it was only a couple months and she had some stuff going on with her roommates when I was like, ‘Just move in.’ So, that was that.”
The couple say part of the reason they make such a great couple is because they are both similarly driven with the same future goals.
Rick, who’s been married before and brought up step-children, said: “Even though I have been married and have raised kids and all that, it's just me and my life is all mine, and I can do what I want with it.
"And somebody like Alyssa fits that really well, because that's where she is."
Alyssa said: “We talked about our future and we both don't want kids. I personally don't want to have kids.
“We are both kind of like on the same page in terms of careers and goals and I’ve been told I’m really mature for my age and stuff like that.”
Despite only being 22, Alyssa’s upbringing is testament to her maturity. Born with a rare congenital condition called paraxial tibia hemimelia, Alyssa moved from the Ukraine, where she was born, to the US as a young child.
She said: “It happens to one in a million people and basically my tibia, which is your large lower leg bone didn't develop. And so because of that, I wasn't able to walk and so that's why they amputated my leg.
"I'm a right above knee amputee.
“From what we know my mother was super young and she probably couldn't take care of me. And so I wound up in a hospital in Ukraine. I was supposed to die. And I was in the hospital for a year before I was taken to the orphanage.”
After being adopted by her American family, Alyssa has been wearing prosthetics since she was just four years old.
“A lot of that really made me grow up really, really fast," she said.
“That’s why I think we work just because I’m not like other 20-year-olds and I’ve dated other 20-year-olds and it’s been fine.
"But I mean there is something you said about dating someone older and just the life experience that you gain from them and so I like it.”
Rick said: “There’s no way it would work if she was like typical 22, 'Hey it's eight o clock where are we going?' Like ten o clock I’m going to bed.
“I don’t feel an age difference. The way we relate to each other, just general conversation and interaction and relating to each other it’s just very compatible, it just works.”