In nothing short of the merriest of holiday spirits, we’ve got the inside scoop on a blind date to warm your heart quicker than a mug of steaming cocoa. Rather than go stag to the office work party, Mark Cassady opted to search for a date by a less traditional method – a post on the East Nashville Facebook group. After reading over it a few times to ensure it contained peak levels of sarcasm, Mark posted away:

“This is going to be interesting. LoL.
WANTED!!
I am in search of a date to a Christmas party on 12/10. It’s downtown at Music City Center with around 1,000 people attending. Free food, drinks and entertainment. It’s a formal party as I usually wear a suit and tie. You’ll need to get out your fancy dress and knock the dust off it. Guaranteed to have awkward conversations and take a formal picture together in which our kids will one day cherish. I’ll probably end up talking about my German Shepherd all night and showing you pictures of him as a puppy. You’d pretend to have a great time even though I’d probably bore you most of the night. You’ll get to meet some really cool people and we’ll tell people we met at the grocery store. (Aisle 5).

Even though there’s an after-party, I’ll probably walk you to your car around 9pm and say goodnight as I’ll go home to let my dogs out and walk them. I’ll probably throw a tennis ball with them as I typically prefer the company of dogs over people. Then I’ll hopefully be in bed by 11 p.m. because I have nothing else to do as I am fairly new to downtown Nashville. It’s a win-win situation for both of us. If this sounds like something you’d be down for, send me a message. Tell me you love dogs and I’ll possibly pick you over the others. Can’t wait to hear from you.”

"This should be interesting. LoL." -Mark

“This should be interesting. LoL.” -Mark  Image: Mark Cassady (The same one he posted with this message on FB.)

Ladies, would you take the bait? If yes, turns out you aren’t alone. The post received 761 likes (at time of this publishing), 330 comments, and Mark received a litany of private messages in response. And, with all those comments and neighborhood opinions, Krista Francis became the lucky date. Fortunately for Mark, the East Nashville Facebook group has excellent taste. Krista works for Mercy Multiplied, an organization helping young women heal from issues such as eating disorders, self-harm, trafficking and more, and recently launched her own company, Hummingbird Cracker Co. – the crackers are delicious, small batch, gluten-free and made from the leftover pulp from juicing vegetables! Totally sustainable and they give back to the community! Krista explains, “Hummingbird is a social enterprise in that my goal is to hire the women who graduate from Mercy during their time of transition after graduation, to give them safe employment and create a network of resources as a safety net as they get settled into a new way of life. It’s a big undertaking, but I’m extremely excited about the future!” We loved discovering the exciting new brand, but also couldn’t wait to pester the two East Nashvillians with questions and hear about their night.

What led you to put yourself forward on the group?

Mark: I was looking for my soulmate! Just kidding! I’m new to East Nash and wanted to see if I could find a date to my Christmas party. I honestly wasn’t expecting much of a response. I was okay if I got trolled and people joked on me. Ha.

Krista: I always love a good adventure and a story to go with it!  I was actually on the East Nashville Facebook page getting ready to post about my new business when I saw Mark’s post looking for a date to his work Christmas party. It ended up being the same company that my roommate works for and I thought, “Why not!?” Life is so much more fun when you’re open to random adventures! So, I sent Mark a message telling him that I was throwing my hat in the ring to go with him. I promised to tell him fun stories about my black lab, Scooby, and how I make crackers for a living. :)

Had you both ever talked previously or did you have mutual friends?

Mark: No

Krista: We had never met before, but we ended up having mutual friends because I recently was part of events for the entrepreneur division of his company, so I ended up knowing quite a few people at the party, which made it all the more fun!

What was your first impression of your date?

Mark: I thought she was hilarious and quick-witted. She was a pretty smooth talker like myself.

Krista: Well, we decided to meet before the party so it wouldn’t be completely awkward. It was raining when he came to pick me up, but he got out of his car without an umbrella and got rained all over just to open the door for me, so I thought this guy is a gentleman!  He’s very unassuming and has a great sense of humor.

"We were dying laughing trying to get that picture and make it as silly and awkward as possible for all of our East Nash Facebook friends to laugh at. I think the funniest part of all of this was the reaction of the East Nashville Facebook page after he posted our follow up picture. People were marrying us off instantly to happy ever after. I think our take on it is that we had an awesome time and we're going to be great friends with a fun story! The more you are open to adventure, the better life is going to be. " -Krista

“We were dying laughing trying to get that picture and make it as silly and awkward as possible for all of our East Nash Facebook friends to laugh at. I think the funniest part of all of this was the reaction of the East Nashville Facebook page after he posted our follow up picture. People were marrying us off instantly to happy ever after. I think our take on it is that we had an awesome time and we’re going to be great friends with a fun story! The more you are open to adventure, the better life is going to be. ” says Krista. Image: Facebook

Tell us about your night! Any highlights or awkward moments?

Mark: Most awkward part was when our HR Director asked to meet Krista because he had heard about the post. I hadn’t realized it spread around the whole company. Everyone seemed to know. A lot of people came up and wanted to meet her.

Krista: I think neither one of us knew what to expect.  News travelled quickly around his company (and East Nashville) about his search for a date, so he thought he might get called out and embarrassed.  Also, it was funny to see people’s reactions wondering who is the girl he’s bringing???  I just thought it was all in good fun, and I had a blast meeting new people.  Some of the first people we saw when we got to the party was a friend of mine who I hadn’t talked to in quite a while. She was there with her boyfriend who works there as well.  She gasped and said, “WAIT!!! You’re Mark’s date?!?!” She and Mark work together, and it turns out that her boyfriend was Mark’s “date” last year. Mark vowed that he wasn’t going to “take a dude” this year and thus began his search. She knew all about Mark’s post, but didn’t realize it would be someone she knew. Nashville is so small!

What’s the final word on Mark and Krista?

Mark: We’re planning on staying friends. We had a great time and agreed to remain friends! Look for another post from me in the future as I’m still looking for my soulmate. Ha!

Krista: I forgot to tell you that one of the biggest unexpected blessings of this whole adventure is that Mark does email marketing, and he started coming up with all sorts of awesome ideas and ways to help my new business take off — what a good friend! And he loves the crackers!

Thank you Mark and Krista for sharing your adventure with us and adding to the holiday cheer!