Tugging at the Heart Strings: Roy and Kim Reid (A UCF Love Story)
By Camille Dolan ’98
When Kim Cimock ’89 was dating Roy Reid ’88 and it became evident that things were moving toward marriage, Kim told her future husband that he would never be able to surprise her, that she would see right through any clumsy attempt of his at a proposal.
Kim and Roy had met in 1987 on UCF’s Orientation Team. As Roy recalls, “It was an organizational meeting for the orientation team in the old Student Center Building, which is now called Ferrell Commons [named for Jimmy Ferrell, who was also on the Orientation Team back then].”
On the retreat that followed a few weeks later, the first icebreaker was to pair off with somebody you didn’t know, and Roy and Kim got paired. It was their first real introduction; they started dating soon after that and have been together ever since.
Roy, who graduated a year before Kim, went shopping with his mom the night before her graduation. He was going to pick up a gift of some kind to celebrate the occasion. He browsed photo albums. But then, he told his mom a secret: he wanted to ask Kim to marry him. She was excited, and Roy immediately turned his attention to ring shopping.
After he found the perfect ring, Roy had an idea about surprising Kim. It would require conspiring with then-UCF President Trevor Colbourn.
When Roy had been student body president the year before, he attended Dr. Colbourn’s breakfast in the university dining room prior to graduation, so he went over the next morning and asked him for a favor: When Kim’s name was called and she walked across the stage, could he, Trevor Colbourn, call her aside and give her the ring box.
Back in the day, graduation ceremonies were held in the gymnasium adjacent to the education building. Parking fines were $5, and parking decals had increased from $13 to $15. Scenes from “Superboy,” (pictured, above) a TV series that ran from 1988-1992, were shot on campus.
As Roy watched his plan unfold the next day, it couldn’t have gone better. Kim said later that she thought she was getting an award for being the 50,000th graduate. As Colbourn pulled her out of the line, he said he had a special presentation to make, “One ring … from Roy to Kim.”
As the entire gymnasium erupted into cheers and applause, Kim walked back to her seat. And Roy, who was sitting in the stands, recalled that it appeared that she was having difficulty opening the box, and had to have somebody sitting next to her assist.
Kim was having difficulty opening the box.
“I was shaking so badly from the shock and excitement that the graduate next to me, who I did not know, offered to open the box for me, as it had a tied bow and wrapping paper and I could not open it,” Kim recalls. “He definitely got me … and he did it in a big way! So fun!”
“I was sitting next to her dad,” Roy says, “And he was equally surprised. It was kind of fun to be there with her parents and my parents as she opened the box. It was a great day.”
Roy has continued to surprise Kim throughout the years. On Kim’s birthday the first year they were married, Roy asked her how she wanted to celebrate. Mindful of the couple’s finances, Kim told Roy it didn’t matter, and they could go to McDonald’s.
When Roy picked her up from work that day, he blindfolded her. They arrived at McDonald’s, surrounded by their friends and family for the kind of birthday party usually reserved for children. Roy had also arranged for Kim to go back into the kitchen to make her own cheeseburger!
The Reids have had many great days since graduating from UCF. They have remained connected to many of their friends from UCF, and enjoy spending time together whenever the opportunity arises. They have three sons and a daughter, Kim works as a mental health counselor, and Roy has had a lengthy career in public relations and executive coaching.
Over the years, Roy has received accolades from his alma mater, including his induction into the Nicholson School of Communication and Media’s Alumni Hall of Fame, as well as being named the PR Professional of the Year by the Orlando chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association.
Roy also developed an evidenced-based training program in collaboration with AdventHealth called The Trust Transformation. His program focuses on helping leaders and those in their organizations in a way that makes trust the center of not only their work lives, but also their day-to-day lives. The healthcare system has used it to train thousands of employees on the idea of how trust is built, how to cultivate it, and how to repair and restore it when necessary.
For four consecutive years from 2013-2016, Trust Across America/Trust Around the World named him as one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders Influencing Trusted Business Behavior.
Roy shared an anecdote about the importance of trust during last December’s commencement ceremonies, where he was the guest speaker. During his keynote, Roy told a story from when his daughter, Faith, was 6 years old. At the time, she had started a bracelet-making business and had crafted one especially for her father. He dutifully put it on his right wrist, only to “forget” to wear it the next day.
Faith came running up to him with another bracelet. “Daddy,” she said, “I made you another bracelet because you didn’t like the first one.” Taken aback, Roy took the bracelet, and has worn it every day since. At commencement – and during this interview – he was still wearing it. Young Faith may not have realized the impact that trust had on her father’s career, but he has never forgotten it.
“It’s all about the little things,” Roy says. “Trust is a word like love that has all these big sweeping ideas attached to it, and when it really comes down to it, you have to tend to a whole lot of little things on a regular basis to make it work.”
This is the part in their story where the music swells, and Roy surprises Kim again, but she surprises him right back.
In 2019, Roy fell asleep on his couch on a Friday night while watching a movie. He woke up at 2 am with “the worst pain I’d ever felt in my life. Like someone had punched a hole in my chest and was squeezing the life out of my heart.”
He somehow ran to his wife in their bedroom and told her he needed to get to the hospital because he felt like he was having a heart attack.
As Kim raced to the hospital, Roy became unresponsive. Kim drove up to the emergency bay doors and begged for help. When one of the nurses noted that Roy didn’t have feeling in the arms and legs, they realized that he had likely suffered an aortic dissection, not a heart attack. The medical team worked quickly to confirm this, and then flew him to Orlando where they had alerted the surgical team that they had a dissection.
(Photo: Kim [left] and Roy Reid, courtesy of AdventHealth)
A dissection occurs when there is a tear in the aorta, the major artery coming out of the heart. As the dissection progresses, the wall of the aorta is torn apart and weakened. According to the NIH, it is an “infrequent but catastrophic disorder. Patients present with tearing chest pain that radiates to the back.”
After the six-hour surgery, physicians told Kim that the prognosis for her husband of 30 years was grim. All his organs were at risk because they had suffered a lack of oxygen. It would take quite a lot for him to recover, they told Kim.
Roy was put into a medically induced coma for seven days. It was the longest week in the lives of the other members of the Reid family.
When the physicians reversed the coma, Roy said it felt like “waking up in the middle of a plane crash.”
He saw and recognized his loved ones’ happy, anxious faces, and realized that “I woke up me.” Thanks to the excellent care provided by AdventHealth staff and clinicians, Roy was still very sick, but also very much alive and fully aware of the medical emergency he had just been through.
“Kim is the true hero of this story,” Roy says. “She got me where I needed to be for the care that I needed. She has always stood beside me, not just with this challenge, but with all those challenges that we have faced over the years. We are also united in the next chapter of our lives, which is simply to love people, be grateful, give generously, and make a difference.”
Kim doesn’t see herself as a hero, she says, but is completely united with Roy in other aspects of their lives.
“Honestly,” Kim says, “I give God all the glory for giving us the strength to walk through Roy’s recovery. In addition, we are blessed with family and friends that supported us, and I will forever by thankful for each and every one of them.”
Marriage is never easy, the Reids say. But they built a foundation for their own marriage through their families, and through their time at UCF.
“Our time at UCF shaped our lives through the relationships we forged during our time there,” Kim says. “We both have individuals who served as mentors over the years who continued to invest in us as we grew; people we still, to this day, love and are grateful for. Our friendships run deep. I dearly love the people I shared my life with at UCF and they will forever hold a very special place in my heart. Blessed to be a Knight!”