Couple Starts Van Dining Date Nights To Safely Support Restaurants After Husband's Cancer Diagnosis

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Sharing our incredible viewers' stories is one of our favorite things to do on the show. We thanked you for giving back in your communities leading up to Thanksgiving, and made our own Nice List over the winter holidays. Now, it's a new year, and we're highlighting our first twenty twenty w(one)derful couple in honor of Valentine's Day: Kim and Doug, who are supporting their local restaurants amid the pandemic in a super-creative, safe and sweet way. 

The pair live in the suburbs of Chicago, they've been married for 27 years and have five grandchildren. "My love story with Doug starts quite a long time ago. He was my piano tuner," Kim says. "The great thing is, after all these years, yes I love Doug — but I still like him." 

And like all couples, they've experienced their share of hardships. "When the shutdowns happened in March, both of our businesses got shut down. We've been unemployed since March of last year and working has been impossible," Doug says. "And then over the summer I got diagnosed with stage four colon cancer and I've been in chemotherapy ever since. So that also makes it difficult to work."

"The good thing is, Doug is responding very well to the chemo and his numbers are dropping and we're very hopeful," Kim continues. "Going out to eat was one of those things that just gave us a little sense of normalcy in our lives. We were looking for a way to be able to have a fun time and go out but also to support the local restaurants." So, they invented "van dining."

The married couple turned their cargo van into a dining room on wheels, so they can safely enjoy date nights "out" visiting their favorite dining spots. "It gives you a very nice feeling to go out and share a meal, because food is best when shared," Kim says. (We couldn't agree more!)

viewer couple dining in van
Rachael Ray Show

One restaurant they gave a special shout-out to is Reza's, the place where they had their first restaurant date. "It's the best Persian food in Chicago," Doug says. "They catered our wedding." Aw! 🧡  

We love this story, and of course, so did Rach and John. They shared a surprise from our friends at Vanilla Gift, who are giving Kim and Doug $1,000 in gift cards for more van dining. 

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