A Walmart wedding

Seniors unite where they met - next to the bike rack at work

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Lois Free and Donald Evans kiss just moments after being wed Friday in the sporting goods department of Walmart in Post Falls. The senior couple, whose former spouses both dies in 2011, met near the bicycle area of the store nine years ago and began dating in 2012.

POST FALLS - Don Evans and Lois Free met at the bike rack, not the water cooler, at work.

So the seniors thought that would be the perfect place to get married on Friday - between the departments they work in at the Walmart on Mullan Avenue and surrounded by their co-workers and friends.

Don assembles bikes in the back of the store, while Lois works in sporting goods.

"He builds bikes and I sell guns," Lois said.

Don added: "I'm careful around her; she's an expert shooter."

As if getting married at a decorated store gazebo under a hanging tent for sale at Walmart wasn't unique enough, co-workers pulled up two electric shopping carts, complete with pop cans dragging behind, for the two to drive away from the ceremony.

Lois weaved in and out of merchandise while Don took the straight shot to the cake in a customer service area in the back of the store that served as the reception site.

"Was this your idea, buddy?" Lois said softly and matter of factly to Don as the two parked the carts.

To clear Don, co-workers took responsibility for the carts.

Don and Lois met as Walmart associates nine years ago when he started working at the store. They supported each other during difficult times when their former spouses died within two months of each other in 2011.

"We've taken care of one another," Don said. "When my wife was ill for a year and a half, she'd bake us cookies."

Lois, who has been working at the store since 2002, had been married 45 years and Don 34.

Don said his idea to get married at Walmart originally was a joke, but the more they thought about it, the more it seemed fitting.

"Our circle of friends is a Walmart," Don said. "They're like an extended family. Having it here made it nice. She asked management and they said, 'Of course.' So here we are."

Lois said Don has a "big heart."

"He wanted to make it so that everybody could be here," she said.

Roughly 100 co-workers, family members, friends and a few curious customers gathered around with cameras and phones in hand between tires, bikes and coolers during the 5-minute ceremony presided over by co-worker and ordained minister Carolyn Savell. Soft background music was played beforehand.

"I'm glad that they stopped the overhead paging," said Brian Evans, Don's grandson who stood by him during the ceremony.

Lois read her thoughts of Don during the ceremony.

"He takes pride in work," she said. "He lets me express myself. He's not just a friend, but my lover."

Don said Lois is "gorgeous and a hard worker just like I am."

The two joked before the ceremony about what their vows could've been. Don's was to "love, honor and behave." Her's was "until death do us part or until he sells his Miata."

Savell said it's the most unusual location where she has conducted a wedding.

"But where doesn't matter as long as the heart is there," she said.

Brian Evans agreed.

"They're happy, this is what they wanted and I'm glad to support them," he said.

The union was an inspiration to those in attendance.

"They're so cute," said co-worker Linda Haralson. "They're like two kids now. You never know what the 70s and 80s have in store for you."

Donald Evans rides a store scooter adorned with tin cans through the aisles of Walmart.

 

Store manager Ardie Wardell, center walks the bride, Lois Free, and the groom, Donald Evans, down the aisle — the toy aisle — prior to the couple's wedding.

 

Lois Free reads from a prepared letter describing the things she loves about Donald Evans during their wedding ceremony at Walmart.

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