Kevin Goodman and Anton Pulung: Magical turn of events

A Bible inspired a fateful meeting at Disney World. Is it any wonder it's called the Magic Kingdom?

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The year Disney World opened, 5-year-old Kevin Goodman visited the Magic Kingdom for the first time. That was 1971 and he has vacationed there at least once a year ever since.

He really does love the place.

For about 30 years Kevin, his mother and his grandmother would drive from their home in New Orleans to spend Thanksgiving there. It was a family tradition.

Today, Kevin's apartment is filled with Mickey Mouse stuff and Disney art. A model of Epcot's Spaceship Earth Pavilion sits on the floor near the fireplace. You get the idea.

"Some people think I'm crazy, and maybe I am, but in a good way," he says.

Want to take a wild guess on the destination Kevin suggested for a road trip when he and his co-workers finished a big project back in 2000? (He was a New Orleans TV producer at the time.)

"Three of them had never been to Disney World. So, off we go!

"We were there for 10 days. I could live there," he says.

During the trip — on Oct. 27, to be precise — his three friends wanted to visit the nearby Universal Studios, but Kevin took a pass.

He had been there earlier in the year and, anyhow, he had some prep work to do for the course he was teaching for the Episcopal Church, where he was deeply engaged in programs and fundraising. It was around 10:30 in the morning, and he found an empty table at a coffee shop in downtown Disney, where he spread out his course materials, including a Bible.

At this point in his life, romance was the last thing on Kevin's mind. "I had been in a pretty horrible relationship that had broken up two years (earlier) and I was still trying to recover from that. I wasn't looking for anybody. I was pretty much done."

But then along came Anton Pulung.

"Anton walked up and said, 'Are you reading the Bible?'" That led to a lengthy conversation about the book of Genesis. "I love talking about religion," says Anton, who grew up a Christian in mostly Muslim Indonesia.

"I just looked at Kevin and thought, 'Oh my! This is my soul mate,'" he recalls.

Kevin thought the same thing. "For me it was love at first sight."

From that first meeting in the coffee shop at Disney World — 11 years plus — there has not been a day when Anton and Kevin have not talked. Not one.

That first encounter came on Anton's day off from his job as a foreign cultural representative at the Asia section of Disney World's Animal Kingdom.

They met for dinner the next night and then Kevin had to return to his job in New Orleans. So then they were on the phone every night for hours.

"He loved God and he loved Disney. I was, like, wow!" Kevin says.

"There was something beautiful about not being together and talking on the phone every night because you had conversations and I feel I got to know him on a very intimate level without being intimate," says Kevin.

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