We adopted a 7-year-old Phillipino boy named Steven.
It was our eighth date (but who’s counting?) and we decided to wander around 16th Street Mall in Denver, which is just a few city blocks of shops and restaurants.
On a few street corners, I spotted guys in vests who were almost certainly trying to sell us something.
“Let’s cross the street so we don’t have to talk to them,” I told my date.
Well, he didn’t. And we walked right past one of the men in vests.
And so it began.
“Do y’all have a minute to talk about helping children?”
I smiled politely. My date also smiled politely. We had no idea what we signed ourselves up for.
“Are either one of you 25 by chance?”
I answered honestly — “No, I’m 22.” My date said, “Does 24 count?”
Of course, my date was 26, but I figured if he didn’t want to talk to the guy he’d really lie and say “no, I’m not 25, have a good day.”
But the man in the vest replied, “Ah, we can fudge the numbers. If you only had to give a dollar a day to help a child have access to food, education, and everything else they need, would you do it?”
Again, my date was taking charge of the situation and I was here for it. I thought he was just really into helping children. Or maybe he was trying to woo me with his love of helping children. I had no idea, but I was rolling with the punches.
“What’s your name, address and phone number?”
Without hesitation my date starts rattling off information. I hadn’t been to his house so I didn’t know his address, but the phone number had the right area code so I figured it must be legitimate. The email address seemed reasonable. And he gave his real name, so I thought, hey, I guess he’s just a giver.
“Now you’re going to pick the child you’re sponsoring.”
The vested man handed us an iPad with dozens of little faces and names on it.
“You pick,” my date said.
“It’s your kid,” I told him. “You pick.”
My date chose Steven, a seven-year-old from the Philippines.
“He’ll be your new pen pal,” the vested man said. “We’ll mail a letter to your address with all the information.”
Then the man asked for my date’s credit card information.
“Agh,” he said. “Well, it’s car insurance season… you know how that is…”
I cringed. Did he not think this was coming? Why did he put in all this effort just to dip out?
Superhero cape on, I stepped up.
“Just put it on mine.”
My date shot me a look. I shot him a look. With masks on, it was just a lot of aggressive eye contact that meant absolutely nothing to me.
“Well, you really owe her one!” the guy in the vest laughed.
I also laughed, mostly because I wasn’t listening and had no idea how much money I’d just pledged to helping children.
I signed, we bumped elbows with the guy in the vest, and he gave us free pens for pledging to help the children.
“Now y’all can tell people that you saved a child today!”
And we walked away.
“I can’t believe you just gave $30 to a kid,” my date said.
I laughed. “Well, I can always cancel it later.”
My date’s face fell.
“Yeah,” I said. “It’s a recurring donation.”
“Jordan…” he sighed. “I gave him fake contact information. We can’t cancel it. We don’t have an email to log in with and we won’t get any of the mail.”
I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. My date was horrified. He’d not only lied to get out of paying to sponsor a child, he’d also put the burden on me to pay and now there was no way to make it stop.
I thought it was hilarious and have no intention of letting him live it down. I keep calling him a “deadbeat dad” and saying “how could you lie to our son” (at some point, the joke went from “we sponsored a child together” to “we adopted a child who you abandoned,” which is exponentially funnier).
When he asked if I wanted to go on another date next week, I said:
“I’ll do it for Steven’s sake. I think it’s best for him if his parents are on good terms.”
Yep. He’s never living that one down, that’s for sure.