Couple goes to Goodwill, kicks off best date night idea ever

Thursday, July 20, 2017 09:22AM
This story originally appeared on Babble and is reprinted with permission.

A Georgia couple's most recent date night with the hashtag #GoodwillDateNight has gone viral on Facebook for good reason.

Noel and Shane Pauley recently posted about the priceless date night laughter resulting from their thrifty and fun shopping challenge. With 235K likes and 329K shares, #GoodwillDateNight is now inspiring other couples to join in the fun.

Noel and Shane Pauley on their Goodwill challenge date night.

Shane heard about the #GoodwillDateNight concept from a friend and convinced his spirited wife to give it a shot this past Friday. As Noel detailed on her blog, the pair kicked off date night with a silly shopping soiree at Goodwill. Within an hour's time, Noel tried on several "crazy" fashions, and with some fun-loving support from store staff, the pair chose inexpensive non-flattering outfits for one another. "We had some much fun," Noel said of the humorous clothing hunt.
The winning picks?

"Shane was in mix-matched plaid with pants that were like four inches too short. And my - floral two-piece dress - had huge shoulder pads," she describes.

Outfitted with new attire and new personas (including fake names), Noel and Shane put their game faces on and proceeded to a busy restaurant, attempting to act totally normal. Despite "snickers" and "side eye" from the hostess, server, and fellow diners, the Pauleys kept their cool to (somewhat) control their laughter.

Couple Noel and Shane Pauley on a hike.

"Our date nights are never boring" says Noel. The new parents of an infant girl attempt to connect with each other by way of a much-needed weekly date night. Other ventures have including trips to arcades, zip lining, RV rentals, and other "goofy ideas" by Shane. The immediate online response to this particular date night came as a shock.

"It's crazy how many likes, comments and shares the post has gotten. We're just along for the ride," says Noel.

The Pauleys are both patrons and donors of Goodwill and knew they would find funny economical choices outside of their personal style. So it came as a surprise to Noel when some commenters suggested the joke could be offensive to Goodwill or its customer base.

According to Charlene Rains, who serves as the Communications Manager for Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast, "Anything to get us good press coverage is great, especially since a lot of people do not understand what Goodwill does."

The nonprofit's mission is actually based on helping people in need reach their full potential through education, skills training, and the power of work. In 2015, the Mobile, Alabama chapter hosted an official #GoodwillDateNight challenge, though it didn't become a viral sensation like the Pauleys' effort. Rains says the positive feedback has inspired her to encourage Goodwill to host similar efforts to benefit both the mission and fun-seeking couples because, as Rains said, "Thrifting is trendy now!"

Noel posted, "I don't think we have laughed this hard in a long time. Marriage is tough, parenting is tough and, honestly, life is tough. But everything is better when you're doing it with your best friend." She hopes that couples will not only share the post but actually get out to do #GoodwillDateNight for unforgettable, priceless fun.

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