A tale of two teenagers — and how a job at Red Robin brought them together

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Grace Vance

Abbey and Kevin Gorsage celebrate their wedding day together on October 10, 2015.
It’s Valentine’s Day. Crowds of couples line the streets donning their classiest clothes. A shy little boy timidly gives the girl of his dreams some flowers. The few ill-prepared men race to salvage from the last few boxes of chocolates and rose bouquets. While most couples celebrate the holiday of love in some way, art teacher Abbey Gorsage and her husband don’t, something that she describes their relationship as “non-traditional in that tradition.”
“We go out to dinner or see movies and things like that all the time and we enjoy each other’s company on a regular basis,” Gorsage said. “We both don’t really see Valentine’s Day as a time where we have to do something to express our love for one another because we do that already.”
The pair’s relationship goes all the way back to their time in high school. However, at 16 their love for each other wasn’t love at first sight.
“As a high schooler, he wasn’t as social or extraverted. He was really quiet at first, but friendly,” Gorsage said. “He was the type of personality where you had to kind of get to know him before the other side of his personality really showed through. The kind of crazy, funny side.”
For them, the relationship sparked through their job at Red Robin. At the same time, they also began attending the same youth group. After that, their friends from work and church brought them closer together.
“We went to a fairly large high school similar to RBHS where you don’t know everyone you see in the hallway, but once you know them [from] somewhere in a different context you notice them at school more. We became friends that way and then started talking more,” Gorsage said. “It turned into one of those high school things where, ‘Oh, do you like him? Do you like her? Maybe you guys should date,’ with our friends kind of pushing us to go on a date together. So we [ended] up going on a few dates together, but it didn’t go much further than that when we were that age.”
Alumni Tatum Pugh, who graduated May 22, 2015, also met her boyfriend in high school. However, instead of going to different colleges like Gorsage and her husband, Pugh and her boyfriend both ended up going to the University of Missouri-Columbia.
“We dated all throughout high school and I ended up graduating a year early so we actually ended up going to the same college and are still dating today. It’s been a little over three and a half years now,” Pugh said. “We’ve always loved Columbia and are both pursuing careers in journalism so Mizzou made sense for both of us.”
For her, going to the same college as her boyfriend wasn’t something she did just to keep their relationship intact. Instead, she said it was a personal decision for her future.
“A lot of people assumed that I decided to graduate early so I could follow my boyfriend to college, which is not true. I made the decision to graduate early because I knew it was the best thing for myself, personally,” Pugh said. “I had the credits and I was honestly just very ready for a change of scenery and to start the next chapter of my life. Having him along for the ride was really just an added bonus.”

Abbey Trescott and Kevin Gorsage, both 17, pose for a picture at a youth group camp. Photo by Amanda Covey.
Abbey Trescott and Kevin Gorsage, both 17, pose for a picture at a youth group camp. Photo by Amanda Covey.
Alumni Kristen Tarr’s story is different. When she and her boyfriend Alex Parks graduated May 24, 2015, they had to part ways, but their relationship remained strong. Although Tarr is at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington and Parks is at University of Colorado-Boulder in Boulder, Colorado, they still keep in touch.
“Our relationship definitely changed because we can’t physically spend a lot of time together. It took effort from both of us to make it work but we both want to stay together so it’s been very successful,” Tarr said. “We communicate better with each other than we used to. We text every few days and call once a week. We have both visited each other once. It was nice to see each other’s new lives and meet each other’s new friends.”
Unlike Tarr and Pugh’s high school relationships, Gorsage and her husband dated for only a few weeks. However, the summer after they graduated high school, Red Robin invited them to train the new staff at an opening Red Robin in Iowa. The pair, then 18 years old, were still unsure of their relationship’s status.
“We had to carpool together to Iowa and help open up a Red Robin. At first I was like, ‘This is going to be so awkward because we dated for like two or three weeks and now we’re sort of friends, sort of not friends,’ but that actually totally rekindled our friendship,” Gorsage said. “We had a great time and we were making each other laugh the whole way there. I think that was a good experience that kind of solidified our relationship together. [From then on, we] stayed in touch even though he went away and I went away to school.”
In Gorsage’s eyes, their time apart gave them the opportunity to explore their future and discover new opportunities.
“I think that in our time apart or just as friends we were growing individually through college, because college changes you. Those experiences change you; dating other people changes you. You kind of start to realize who you are as an individual,” Gorsage said. “We would remain friends through some of these other relationships and talk to each other about what was going on in our relationships. He would give me guy advice and I would give him girl advice, when all along we should have just been dating each other.”
The same circle of friends that brought them to start dating later kept them in touch throughout college. Three to four years later, their friendship became something more.
“We started dating [again] and then the dating turned into, ‘Now we’re seriously dating,’ and ‘Now we’re moving in together,’ and ‘Now we’re talking about marriage.’ And now we’re married and having a baby,” Gorsage said.
So while couples across the country flock to fancy restaurants, Gorsage and her husband relish in their new marriage together and how their relationship has grown.
“He’s constantly growing in his own learning, and as a teacher I think I share some of that passion with him — that passion for learning and bettering yourself and constantly growing,” Gorsage said. “I think it’s nice having a partner who shares that quality because then we continue to seek out new experiences [and] new knowledge. We learn things together.”