Nowadays, the internet is reigning the world over. Especially, the social media platforms which have become a day to day part of everybody’s life. It helps to connect you from one part of the globe to another part, in just a matter of few moments. Just a click could reveal everything about you. Moreover, there are some relationships that had blossomed over the social platform. This one is a perfect case of love blossoming over social media…

A short-term disappointment

Maria Grette, a 62-year-old woman from Sweden had fallen for a 58-year-old Danish man over the internet. Later, she found out that the man she was talking to was a 24-year-old Nigerian guy. She felt quite disappointed, but after a while, her feelings changed. 

He Lost His Innocence

“The most terrible thing was not that he had cheated me, but that he had lost his innocence,” she said. She became consumed with what she describes as “a profound need to make a difference to the people of Nigeria”.

Profile on Online Dating Website

Ms. Grette’s friends created her profile on an online dating website. Just a few years back, she divorced her husband, so in order to give her a new taste of relationships, they set up her profile. On that particular website, she met Johnny (not his real name).  

She didn’t exude much interest

Initially, Ms. Grette didn’t show much interest in her profile. She professionally was an art teacher, painter, and art therapists. “I received messages telling me that people had contacted me, but I never looked at them,” she said.

She got lost in the conversation

 

 

Eventually, she did. “I still don’t know why,” she said. “It was like a sudden impulse happening before I could stop it. ” She received a message from a man who told her that he belonged to South Carolina, USA, and his name is Dane. Professionally, he worked as a civil engineer, and currently in England for some official project. He also told her that he was a widower and has a son, who was studying at Manchester University. “I was caught up by the atmosphere and by something in his words,” she said.

Some excerpts from their chat…

 “I wish I could see through your eyes and see what you like to see.” She replied:  “I like to see the truth, and often the truth is more beautiful and greater than people dare to realize.” Then he again messaged her:  “You talk in a parable. I can´t wait to see you.” She reverts: “I cant understand how you can think so dedicated to me when you have never met me. That scares me.” Ms. Grette further tells us: “We spent some time writing, then he called from a UK number.”

Couldn’t identify through accent

Ms. Grette was astonished that she could not identify the man through his accent. She told the guy about this, but she never gave this topic a much emphasis. 

The Future Plans

He further revealed her future plans to her. He told her that he was planning for his retirement. He also tells her that he wanted to move to Sweden, he would give his current house in Denmark to his son, Nick, while he would settle down in Sweden.

She wanted to meet him

“I wanted to meet him because I liked him,” she said. “He had a way and a sweetness I had never known in a man before. And he was innocent in a way that puzzled me.”

Series of calls

After three months of communication, the man told her that he was coming over to Sweden to meet her but before that, he had to visit Nigeria with his son, for his job interview. He made first call to her telling her that he along with his son was at Heathrow airport. But her next call shocked Ms. Grette in which he told her that he was in a hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. They had been mugged by some local goons and his son had been shot dead by them. He explained to her that he had no papers or money left with him. Plus, adding to his woes his bank didn’t have a branch in Africa. 

His Request

His first message read: “Honey, I am in the hospital right now using the doctor´s laptop to send you this message so you can know my situation. Honey, if Nick dies I will also die with him, I have been crying, I wish I could call you, I wish I never came here, I will never forgive myself for bringing Nick along with me. I will call you later with the doctors’ phone and send you an email later if I have the chance.” Later, he messaged her again: “Honey, I am happy to hear from you and I am still at the hospital. The doctor said we where lucky we were not kidnapped. The bank does not have a location in Africa, so it will take time to get money and the management are requesting 1000 euros to proceed with treatment. Nick is all I have got and I will not forgive myself if anything happens to him. I am confused, and I do not know where to turn at the moment……”

Ms. Grette rushes to transfer money

“I will never forget how I rushed to the Western Union office, trembling while I did the transfer,” Ms. Grette said. “All I could think of was to get the two persons in Nigeria out of danger.”

She stopped replying

He continued to demand money from her. He gave her several medical reasons which forced her to transfer money. He demanded money for doctor’s fees as well. Later, she came back to her senses and stopped replying him.  

The Revelation

After three weeks, he called Ms. Grette and told her the truth. “I said I already knew that. I asked him to tell me his true identity and he did,” Ms. Grette said. He told her that he was a 24-year-old Nigerian “419” scammer. He referred to himself as a “devil” who had wronged “a lovely lady.” He further stated that: “He said he had never met anyone like me before, that he had been fighting his feelings for me for a long time. He said his scamming mates had warned him about falling in love with a ‘client’, that he had ignored them because he trusted me and did not want to lose contact with me.”

Ms. Grette visits the guy in Nigeria

From this point onwards, their relationship took a magical turn. She expressed her will to meet him. But he told her that he was not able to come to Sweden because of some visa issues. Hence, Ms. Grette decided to go and meet him in Nigeria. She met him and his friends in Nigeria. 

A Woman with a mission

“I asked myself what I could do to prevent a situation where healthy, good young men fall into this trap,” she said. In 2011, she came across an article on a Nigerian news website about an art exhibition. Over the past six years, Ms. Grette has arranged many art exhibitions, workshops, and conferences for a number of African artists.  

No grudges against Johnny

Ms. Grette, now 69, lives in Norway and she is working to improve the lives of these young and talented artists. “Johnny has given me more than he took,” she said, “Without him, I would not have met Africa.”  “He is very dear to me,” she said. “He has asked me so many times to forgive him and I told him that the most important thing is to forgive himself.”