This is a story for just about anyone. And I mean anyone. If you find yourself to be a hopeless romantic, lonely and single, happily married, dating in puppy love, or just plain done with love altogether, there’s probably something for you in this story.
How do I know?
Well, I’m somewhere between the hopeless romantic and bleak realist, but in the midst of some pretty tragic circumstances this story—my own— was how I knew Kevin was the one for me. This story is like it was straight off of a Hallmark movie, but I couldn’t have made it up for myself if I tried. Whether you need encouragement, a seasonal mood boost, or simply just want to read about an excellent meet cute… keep on reading.
2017 was one of the most difficult years of my life. For a multitude of reasons, I struggled to even make it to the next year. My entire life had been upended by a failed relationship and it was one of those moments where I needed God more than I ever had. However, once the corner turned to 2018, everything instantly changed. I just didn’t quite know it yet.
In 2018, I would go on to run my first half marathon, travel on a 2 week vacation to Hawaii, hit a personal financial goal in job that was tough to earn money in, and last but not least, I met my husband.
But let’s back it up and enjoy the sweet little details… in February of 2018 I was a personal trainer working hard to rack up clients, while working on my own physique and training for that half marathon I mentioned. Between the stress of life, and the physical stress, I started to experience pain in my left shoulder— signature pains that indicated issues with my rotator cuff.
I didn’t have time or money to fix a tear, so I made an appointment with my pain specialist who’d helped me with a knee injury just two years prior.
“The good news is, I don’t believe anything is torn. But the bad news is, it looks like you’re hyper mobile. In other words, you’re too flexible,” the doctor told me.
There wasn’t much he could do, so he sent me to physical therapy. He told me he was sending me to a newer clinic in town that he really liked because they were using better techniques and methods. EW Motion Therapy was the name.
Life was getting crazy busy, and even though my shoulder was killing me, I kept trudging on. In the midst of it all, I lost the referral, and despite trying to get an appointment, I couldn’t get in without the referral. A whole eight months would pass before I actually made it in to physical therapy.
In the meantime, I ran my half marathon, and briefly picked up a second job as a coach at another gym. The hours I was working about did me in. A severe lack of sleep, a major upper respiratory infection, and a divorce case that just wouldn’t come to a close were dragging me down in the worst way.
May rolled around and I started to take inventory of my life. I had joined the local Junior League earlier that year, but I just wasn’t able to give my time. I needed to resign. The extra job was too much for my load, and it was time to quit that as well. The divorce case– well that was out of my control, but it was also the biggest source of anxiety.
One Monday morning after my coaching shift, I had to run by the Junior League office to drop something off. I certainly didn’t look best… hair half up, half down, no make up, glasses, blue t-shirt, and black cropped leggings.
I got out of the car and opened the door to the backseat to get out a few things, and as soon as I looked up I saw this brown and white puppy barreling towards with full gusto. Before I could even get the door closed, this little puppy was licking my ankles and rolling over to have his belly rubbed.
With no collar and no apparent owner around, I thought “I mean you can come home with me! You’re the CUTEST puppy I’ve ever seen!”
About that time I see a tall, what appeared to be early thirties guy in a polo walking over towards us, talking on his phone. “Oh,” I thought, “I guess you do have an owner. Too bad.”
I picked up the puppy to hand him off, but the gentleman kept talking on his cell phone. I was in a slight hurry, and felt pretty awkward holding this guy’s puppy while he just talked on his phone. Fortunately, about the time I was ready to set the puppy down, the phone conversation ended.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “I just got him and don’t have a leash yet. He cam to work with me and I was letting him out.”
“That’s totally fine!” I replied, “He’s adorable! What’s his name?”
“Tucker,” he said. Cute name.
As this man talked I slowed down long enough to pay attention, and realized this guy on his phone with a runaway puppy was extremely handsome. What in the world?! Who meets the cutest puppy you ever seen with a handsome owner in a parking lot on a Monday morning?
My anxiety for my current circumstances sat in.
“Well, I’ve got to get on my way,” I broke away, “it was nice to meet you Tucker!” I thought about asking the gentleman’s name, but what business did I have meeting a new man? I was still in the middle of a divorce case. Ha.
“Alright, well, say bye bye Tucker!” the man somewhat flirtatiously replied and picked up the puppy’s paw to wave “bye”.
DONE. I was done. Scoop me up off the ground, cause I melted in a puddle.
“Goodbye!” I laughed sheepishly, and went into the Junior League office.
Once I got back to the car, I called my mom and told her that I had met the cutest puppy I had ever seen with cutest owner I had ever seen. She laughed because it literally sounded like the Hallmark movies we had watched at Christmas. I hung up, turned the corner, and would soon forget all about that little meet cute.
Fast forward to October 2018. Things were looking up. The divorce case had wrapped up in June, I got a promotion at my job and was now earning a salary, and I had an upcoming trip to Hawaii. A friend had also asked me to co-lead a running themed small group with her. I say co-lead very intentionally, as she not only pulled together the curriculum we used, but she also arranged educational speakers to talk to our group about running safety. We covered proper footwear, right stretching, and even had a physical therapy lined up to speak to us.
One Sunday afternoon, she invited me to a chili cook-off downtown. I’d been in a wedding the night before and stayed up way too late visiting with friends. So I found myself in a t-shirt, no make up, and glasses– again.
This early October afternoon was like any typical all day in the south; burning up hot, and definitely not the right weather for a chili cook-off. We went from booth to booth tasting chili, and working up a sweat. Eventually, we came to a tent labeled “EW Motion Therapy”. I didn’t even make the connection.
We tasted the chili and just we were about to move on, my friend said, “wait! I want to introduce you to someone!”
The week before we had cancelled small group. It was my birthday, but I had to work late and wasn’t able to make it to our running group. Kevin Coleman, a physical therapist at EW had been scheduled to talk to us. But my friend rescheduled him to the upcoming small group.
I walked back to the tent and my friend said, “Kevin, this is Chaslee! She’s my co-leader for our small group you’re talking to next week!”
Immediately I recognized him. He was the parking lot puppy guy.
“Hi!” I exclaimed, not expecting him to remember me– I mean I’d forgotten that whole day myself.
“Hey, I’m Kevin”, he plainly said. Remembering my appearance, I shrunk back. I did NOT want this to be his first impression of me.
My friend wrapped up the conversation and reconfirmed his scheduled time to speak to our group. We walked on.
As we were wrapping up tour de chili, she asked what I thought of Kevin. I told her I thought he seemed nice. Life had taught me to guard not just my heart but all of my thoughts as well.
“Well, he’s the guy I scheduled to speak to us, but since you couldn’t come last week I moved him to this week. I kind of planned it. I think he’s really cute, he’s single, you’re single, and I think y’all would be cute together!”
I laughed. And then proceeded to tell her about meeting the puppy in the parking lot.
Small group rolled around, and this time I made sure I had make up on, my hair fixed, and my glasses off. I still had on active wear, but this time it was cute active wear. We were going running after all.
I walked in the clinic, and our small group gathered while he talked to us about running safety. After showing us stretches and exercises to prevent injury, he explained what they could do for their patients at EW. Remembering my still ailing shoulder, and now a knee that was aching, I spoke to him afterward and explained my missing referral situation. He said to get a second one, and they could me soon.
Not long after our conversation, a tall, lanky, brown and white dog came barreling through the clinic towards our group.
“Tucker!”, my friend exclaimed.
Yep, this was the guy. And there was the puppy, except now he was a lot more grown.
“What kind of dog is he?” I asked Kevin, “a labradoodle?”
“He’s a springerdoodle, he replied.
As you can imagine, I had my referral sent over and my well overdue appointment with Kevin about my shoulder and knee. Once I made it into the clinic, I realized this would end up probably not going in the flirtatious direction that our first meeting had. While I was free to date or flirt with whoever I wanted to, I was now this guy’s patient. Awesome.
Over the course of the next three months, he treated my knee and shoulder, and to this day I can honestly say I haven’t had another health professional truly make my pain dissolve like Kevin did. I realize I’m partial, but I don’t quite get that same treatment now that I’m his wife (haha!)… He truly is the best physical therapist, at least in Alabama.
Once my treatment was over, I gifted the clinic with Christmas cookies, and gave Tucker homemade carrot treats. A little later, Kevin Facebook messaged me to thank me for the treats, and sent me a friend request. We chatted a little over the next couple of months and after a while we went to dinner. Then we went to church together. The next time we went on an afternoon run together.
Finally, around Valentine’s Day of 2019, he showed up to run and gave me the prettiest orchid plant I’ve ever had. Orchids, because they are my favorite thanks to that Hawaiian trip of a lifetime, where they grow everywhere like kudzu does in the south.
After two and a half years of dating, we skipped the engagement and went right on to the marriage. We made it through a pandemic, switching jobs, and lots of uncertainty. On the most beautiful October day, in Cades Cove, Tennessee, Kevin and I got married at the height of golden hour with just our family present.
And of course, Tucker came along too. With Remi, my springerdoodle who we added in 2020.
Personally, my history with relationships made me quite skeptical. After several months of dating, I asked God if I was in the right relationship. He reminded me through our own story that only He could’ve constructed how we met. One way or two others, He made sure our paths would cross. And if He was taking me somewhere, that meant He was protecting me and providing the best for me, too.
The fantastic irony is Kevin helps heal people for a living. It hasn’t been easy, but in many ways, we’ve helped each other heal from certain things too.
So let this be an encouragement, whether you’re single, taken, married, divorced, or married again. There’s nothing you can do to ruin God’s plan for your life. One way or another, He’ll get you where you need to be. Even if it does involve a runaway puppy.