A young woman is responsible for nearly $5,000 in donations to a local domestic violence shelter after she exposed her dad for his attempt to claim the crown as World’s Pettiest Man in a stunt that left 80,000 pennies on his ex-wife’s lawn.
Just after Avery Sanford of Richmond, Virginia turned 18, her father spent the extra money to rent a trailer in order to personally deliver his final child support payment of $800 in pennies, which he then dumped in their front yard.
“It is really hurtful and damaging to your kids when you do things like that,” Sanford told the local news station. “And it doesn’t matter how old your kids — it doesn’t matter if they’re a young child or an adult. The actions of your parents will always have some effect on you.”
Sanford and her mother then decided to take this ugly, petty act and turn it into something beautiful by donating the full amount of the payment, plus a little more, to the nearby Safe Harbor shelter, which helps women escape from abusive intimate partners. After they spread the word about what the douchebag of the year did and how they had made the donation, their friends started donating, too.
Pretty soon, the story had caught fire, and by Thursday the shelter had received almost $5,000.
“A friend of theirs matched the exact amount and then other people started making donations in their honor,” said Safe Harbor Executive Director Cathy Easter. “In the memo line, they’re saying they’re doing this in honor of Avery and her mom.”
The story has now been picked up by multiple major national news publications, so that donation number has likely increased overnight. After so many years of so much ugliness in the U.S., people are loving this example of taking something mean and using it to do good, especially after the pandemic created a surge of need for domestic violence victims.
“There are so, so many dads like this, with open constant contempt for their exes and kids,” said award-winning writer Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl. “Amazing this kid could be so aware at this age, and be unashamed and call it out as abuse, and then do good. What a valiant act of boundaries and self-care.”
According to WTVR, the young Sanford had made the difficult decision to stop speaking with her biological father years ago, and this incident made her feel as though this was the correct decision.
Speaking with the dad on the phone, he excused his actions as “18 years of built-up frustration” and claimed that “emotions got the best of him,” presumably for the entire period of renting the trailer, converting $800 into pennies, and driving them to his ex-wife’s house.
He also said he hoped his actions didn’t create more of a “wedge” between him and his daughter, but it really seems like he did.
“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,” said Sanford.