A single mom from Victoria, B.C. did a rather strange thing: knowing she was going to be alone with her young son for Christmas, she posted the following ad on Craigslist under the heading, "Mother and son seeking family to adopt us for Christmas":
"Have you always wanted a daughter and grandson? Do you have a daughter and/or grandson but they live too far away to return for Christmas this year?
Do you miss the pitter patter of little feet and adorably mispronounced words of a three-year-old boy? Do you need a hand with dishes after sharing Christmas dinner with a (slightly?) eccentric 30-year-old single mother?
If you've answered yes to any of the above questions, look no further, you've found the perfect solution!
... This year, my older daughter is going to spend the holidays back home with her wonderful Papa... so it's just going to be me and the little guy."
Little did Autumn Mazzitelli know that her ad would go viral, causing her to field hundreds of offers from locations as far-flung as New Zealand. Suddenly there were a ridiculous number of journalists lining up to interview her.
But with all that media attention came some critical comments, too. Some people accused her of being irresponsible, unwittingly endangering herself and her son by accepting invitations into total strangers' homes.
“It turned into a crazy, painful thing,” Mazzitelli said. “Something beautiful turned into something dark.” She has since deleted the ad, though she has already accepted several invitations for Christmas.
There is no doubt that Mazzitelli's intentions were pure-hearted. She has such a valid point: so many people are alone or lonely over the holidays.
“The truth is that so many people are broken and we live on a planet with 7 billion people, so how is it possible that we’re lonely?”
For many of us, Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year, but the most isolating. So Mazzitelli wrote the ad, hoping to "meet some beautiful humans to share Christmas Eve or Day with, hear some stories, sing and eat and laugh…. and actively choose not to be alone. I want something different this year so I’m just putting my heart out there!”
She claims she posted the ad simply hoping to meet new people in Victoria. Yet posting an ad to Craigslist isn't the same as say, posting to her personal Facebook page so that it could be seen by friends and friends of friends.
Posting a classified ad doesn't make her a bad mother or indeed, a bad person - far from it - it just makes her far more trusting and naive than the rest of us.