My mother always told me that there are no coincidences in life. Sometimes when we look back at the circumstances that led us to where we are today our minds are scrambled by the perfect symphony of events that result from what began as seemingly cosmic randomness.
Are these outcomes written in the stars? Is it fate? Is it God? Who knows?! But sometimes the pieces fit together too flawlessly to chalk it up to simple chance. Love, in many cases, can be one of those occasions.
Like many of us Jen K. enjoys a good cup of coffee. A little over three years ago she often frequented a coffee shop near her home in northern Virginia where a young man by the name of Gabe B. worked. Gabe, finding himself attracted to Jen, would innocently flirt with her while he made her medium unsweetened iced coffee. Unfortunately for him his playful banter was initially not reciprocated.
After a few months Gabe noticed that Jen had stopped coming into the coffee shop and he couldn’t help but wonder whether his simple flirting had driven her away. At the time he did not know that she had moved to a different area of northern Virginia. And so it would appear that Gabe and Jen would go about living their separate lives…until fate intervened.
Fast forward about eight months…
Gabe had a fondness for shopping at Goodwill stores in northern Virginia and often visited the location in Fairfax.
One day he walked into the store and couldn’t help but notice a beautiful young woman who he immediately recognized. Yes, it was Jen, the woman he used to flirt with from the coffee shop. It didn’t take him long to make the decision to give romance a chance and he made a beeline towards the woman he served so many coffees to so many months earlier.
Like something out of a romantic comedy Gabe had found the nerve to approach the woman he longed for in a rather unconventional setting, the china section of that all too familiar Goodwill store in Fairfax.
As it turned out, Gabe had extensive knowledge of screen printing; a craft in which Jen had recently developed an interest. After an engaging 45 minute conversation Gabe offered to help teach Jen the skill and their future together was forever sealed…in the housewares isle near the dishes and utensils.
Gabe and Jen continued shopping together at Goodwill (and yes, other stores too), and only 10 months later the two were married. Along the way they would discover that not only did they both have a fondness for Goodwill shopping, they also shared a love for the outdoors and travel.
They successfully combined both of those passions while they were dating by taking a road trip up the east coast and hitting several Goodwill stores along the way. Gabe and Jen traveled across country on their honeymoon and just recently returned from a trip to Germany.
Now, during their free time as a family with their son, Wyatt, Gabe and Jen enjoy hiking in the Shenandoah Valley, bike riding, canoeing, and checking out their local Goodwill for interesting finds like banjos and one-of-a-kind cocktail tables for themselves, and Hawaiian shirts for Wyatt. But I digress.
Here at Goodwill of Greater Washington we are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to share the success stories of people we serve who are towing the path towards self-sufficiency.
This Valentine’s Day we have the unique opportunity to share a different kind of success story. Of all the Goodwills across the world, one of our stores became the backdrop for the tale of two people who would ultimately find a lifetime of love together.
This Valentine’s Day we consider it an honor that the universe, or God, or fate, or simple poetic justice brought Gabe and Jen together in one of our locations and that they were kind enough to allow us share a bit of their love story with you.
As Jen so appropriately responded when we first approached her about her story, “I guess you could say #mygoodwillfind is my best friend.”
“All is well with the Browns! The biggest update to our story is the addition of a new member: our son Nolan was born last spring! I’m working from home and trying to soak up these early days with the boys. So many parents of adult children have reminded us, each with a knowing gleam in their eyes, that it all goes by so fast. We take that to heart. And actually, reflecting on our Goodwill Love Story has shown me how quickly time flies when you’re having fun!
We still enjoy being outside when we can and are looking forward to the longer days of Spring/Summer. As ever, we enjoy our local thrift stores. Our latest Goodwill finds include a nearly untouched Intro to Engineering kit with experiments for kids. I was able to order the three replacement pieces it was missing for a whopping $3.61. I also picked up a cute floral nursing dress made in Sweden. We still value Goodwill as an organization that has monetized reduce, reuse, recycle. And of course like to reminisce about how our stars aligned in that dish aisle.” -Jen