Sometimes there’s a fine line between pettiness that is amusing and pettiness that is damaging — and sometimes it’s pretty clear from the start.
One mother and daughter duo were recently served up a petty final hurrah of a child support payment, compliments of one man’s backlog of frustration. But instead of merely being hurt by the display, they decided to turn what had been intended to annoy into something that could be celebrated.
Avery Sanford of Richmond, Virginia, who had just turned 18 and was finishing up high school, was attending a class remotely when she saw something strange out front.
“When I was in the middle of class, my dad came by,” she said, according to WTVR-TV. “He had rented a trailer. He pulled up in front of our house, like, turned the trailer on so it dumped out all the pennies in the street in front of our house and my mom walked outside while it was happening, she didn’t recognize him at first, and she asked, ‘What are you dumping on my lawn?’
“And he said, ‘It’s your final child support payment,’ and that’s when she realized who it was.”
What might have felt like sweet revenge to the frustrated man was damning for any hope he might have had of remaining on neutral terms with his daughter.
“It’s not just her that he’d be trying to embarrass, it’s also me, it’s also my sister and it’s upsetting that he didn’t really consider that before he did this,” Sanford said, adding that though she hadn’t spoken to her father in years, his actions on that day sealed the deal.
“It is really hurtful and damaging to your kids when you do things like that,” she continued. “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.”
Her mom called the local police regarding the incident, but they still had to figure out what to do with the mountain of pennies — about 80,000 — spilled across the sidewalk and front yard.
And they came up with a perfect plan. They decided to donate the money to Safe Harbor, an organization that “provides the support that survivors of sexual and domestic violence and human trafficking need to overcome their crises and to transform their lives,” according to their Facebook page.
Sanford’s mom, who goes by Raven Sickal on Facebook, posted video of the pennies and said that a local bank offered to count them for free.
“Big thank you to Blue Ridge Bank for your help counting pennies at no charge, and their Bankers who went above and beyond assisting!” she posted on June 3. “This is Community Service at its finest. Turning the negative into positive.”
Sickal also revealed in the comments on her post that the amount her ex had delivered had been short.
The father told WTVR that the act was a result of 18 years of frustration and that he hadn’t intended to hurt his daughter, but clearly he did. His actions have been made quite public — he has certainly been excoriated by readers and he’s not getting the last laugh.
“Turning around and donating that money to moms and children in need, like, I feel like that just really turns this situation into like a positive one,” Sanford explained. “You can learn a lesson from it.”
“The fact that they turned around such a spiteful act into something so beautiful just says a lot about the relationship between and mother and daughter,” Cathy Easter, the executive director of Safe Harbor said, according to KCPQ-TV.
“During the pandemic, incidents of domestic violence incidents have increased, people who have been abused, especially since the beginning, were trapped in their homes with their abusers and couldn’t leave,” Easter added in an interview with HuffPost.
“Since restrictions started lifting, it’s like a tsunami wave of people reaching out for help at a time when federal funding has been cut, so this gift for us has been amazing.”
While initially, the shelter received about $800 total from Sanford and her mother, once the story got out, more people donated, and they’ve now seen nearly $5,000 — all thanks to one man’s childish actions.
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