A newly-divorced man in Virginia dumped 80,000 pennies on the front lawn of his ex-wife’s home as the final payment of his alimony. Using a trailer, he left boxes containing 80,000 pieces of pennies on the ground, which scattered after they dropped. However, instead of feeling embarrassed and offended by the man’s actions, the ex-wife and her daughter responded positively by donating $800 to charity which touched the hearts of citizens around the world.
18-year-old Avery Sanford, the man’s daughter, was in Deep Run High School at the time of the incident. Initially, Avery’s mother, who was at home, did not recognize her ex-husband and rushed outside to ask what he threw on her front yard.
“What are you dropping in my yard?” she asked, rushing to the man’s side as he dropped the pennies. He responded, “It’s your last child support payment.” After dumping the pennies, he immediately rushed to his truck and drove away before the ex-wife could react.
When Avery came home from school, the sidewalk was still littered with pennies. Using a snow shovel, Avery and her mother, with the help of some friends, scooped up the littered coins and exchanged them for US$800 worth.
“It’s not just my mom he’s trying to embarrass, it’s also me and my sister, and it’s upsetting that he didn’t consider that before he did that,” Sanford informed WTVR Virginia. “It’s really hurtful and damaging to your kids when you do things like that. It doesn’t matter if they’re young or an adult. The actions of your parents will always have some effect on you.”
However, Avery and her mother responded in a positive way rather than be affected by the drastic incident. They donated $800 to a charity in their area that aims in helping survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and human trafficking, Safe Harbor.
“They were able to turn such a negative experience, and what her daughter witnessed, into a positive,” Cathy Easter, executive director of Safe Harbor, said in a video for Inside Edition. “They found a way to turn this around and not feel devastated about it.”
The donation inspired other people to give to Safe Harbor as well. The news went viral, and people around the world donated to the charity. The incident raised more than $47,000 for her organization. Cathy was very grateful that the mother and daughter reached out to them.
The donation made such a huge impact on citizens who made a positive response by donating. “Donating this money to mothers and children in need, I think it really brings something positive behind this malicious act,” said Avery. The young student will be studying at Virginia Tech College and admits that she has not kept in touch with her father in a while. She has no intentions of reconnecting with people who disrespect her mother.
In a phone call with WTVR, Avery’s father said that his emotions ‘got the best of him’ and his behavior to dump the pennies was due to ‘18 years of accumulated frustration’. He admits he did not want his actions to add more distance between him and his daughter. However, Avery did otherwise.
“The fact that these gifts are coming in at this time is just like a godsend,” Cathy Easter said. “I’m very sorry the family experienced this, but so grateful they reached out and chose to do this and share their story.”
Screenshots images and video credits: © Inside Edition/YouTube