Medina Hahn has always believed that the universe reveals its plans for us by placing signposts in our lives — and in her case, the signpost for true love literally took the form of her name on a restaurant sign.
The restaurant in question — Café Medina on Beatty Street, the daytime counterpart to Chambar — had only been open for two weeks in January 2008 when the Vancouver-based actor spotted her name on its sign. "I don't have a common name by any means, not even common in Arabic, and so I saw the sign and I walked in," said Hahn on the phone with WE.
Had she not been compelled to stroll into Café Medina that day, she would not have met restaurateur Robbie Kane.
If events had unfolded according to Kanes original plan, Café Medina would have been operating under a different name altogether.
"We'd actually incorporated the business name as something different, and we didn't like that name, so at the last minute, we decided to call it something else," said Kane in a separate phone interview. It was Kane who'd then selected the name Medina for the café. In Arabic, Medina means enlightened or radiant city.
"On clear days when you drive down the street and see those mountains, [Vancouver] truly is a radiant city," said Kane. His business partner thought the name worked well graphically, so they called the lawyers and made the change.
Kane was alone in the café when Hahn stepped in off of the street. "I remember the guy behind the counter was kind of stressed, a little bit preoccupied, and I just said, 'When did you open?' And he said, 'Two weeks ago,' and I said, 'That's my name,' and I took a card and left", said Hahn.
"My recollection of that day is kind of vague, but I remember that she walked in and I said, 'Oh, your name's Medina, okay, fine,'" said Kane.
It was during Hahn's second visit where they struck up a conversation — as Hahn ate breakfast at the counter — that they moved beyond pleasantries. Kane said he remembers every single detail of that second conversation, right down to the clothes Hahn was wearing (a blue cotton top and jeans). He capped off the ten-minute chat by handing Hahn his card and asking her out for a drink.
"I didn't want to be the cheesy guy and go, 'Can I have your number?'"
It would be a couple of weeks before Hahn picked up the phone. "It was all too strange and I took it as, 'Okay, I hear you loud and clear, world. I have to go for a drink with this human being,'" said Hahn. Fast-forward five years, and the pair are now married and parents to a nine-month-old baby.
Today, though they have a lot on their plates (pun intended), Hahn and Kane strive to make time for each other.
"We like to take off together, and we happen to like doing the same things," said Hahn.
As for the story of how they met, people who hear it for the first time generally have the same reaction.
"When I say two weeks [after we opened], this woman showed up and said, 'My name's Medina,' and now we've been together for four years and have a baby, they're like, 'Eff off!'" said Kane.
"Sometimes I think to myself, 'Why am I in the restaurant business?' Then I realize that, had I not done it, my life wouldn't be what it is today."