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Dad dumps 80,000 pennies on ex-wife's lawn as child support, daughter gives best response

Avery Sanford decided to turn the negative experience into one that will have a positive impact.

Dad dumps 80,000 pennies on ex-wife's lawn as child support, daughter gives best response
Cover Image Source: YouTube/WTVR CBS 6

Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 14, 2021. It has since been updated.

When it came time for an estranged father to make his final child support payment, he chose a less than gracious approach. Instead of choosing cash or a check to pay his ex-wife the $800 he owed, he instead chose to dump a bunch of pennies onto the front lawn of her Virginia home. There were a total of 80,000 pennies that he emptied into the yard using a rented trailer. His daughter, 18-year-old Avery Sanford, chose to turn the situation around from a clearly negative experience to one that will have a positive impact.


Sanford, a senior at Deep Run High School, was in class when her father arrived with the unconventional child support payment. While she was not around to witness her dad dumping the pennies, her mother was. Speaking to WTVR she said, "He pulled up in front of the house and turned the trailer on so it dumped out all the pennies on the grass and my mom came out and was like, 'What are you dumping in my yard?'" Sanford added, "She didn't know who it was until he shouted, 'It's your final child support payment.'"


Her father's cruel stunt deeply affected Sanford. "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," she said. After the arduous task of picking out the pennies, Sanford and her mom decided to turn the bad situation into a good and positive one. They concluded that donating the final child support payment, delivered in such a manner, was the best response. They donated the $800 to Safe Harbor, a center that "supports those who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence, sexual violence, or human trafficking."


Cathy Easter, executive director of Safe Harbor, agreed that donating the money was indeed making the best of the situation. She told The Washington Post, "They were able to turn such a negative experience, and what her daughter witnessed, into a positive. They found a way to turn this around and not feel devastated about it." Since the story broke, the shelter has experienced a spike in donations and has received nearly $5,000 so far. Many people have cited the family and their story as the reason they decided to make the donation.


"Turning around and donating that money to moms and children in need, I feel like that really turns this situation into a positive. You can learn from it," Sanford said. This incident and her father's behavior also reassured her of the decision she had made of staying away from her dad whom she hadn't spoken to in many years. She has no interest in maintaining a relationship with someone who means to disrespect her mom. "It's really hurtful and damaging to your kids when you do things like that. It doesn't matter if they're young or an adult, the actions of your parents will always have some effect on you," Sanford stated.

Sanford's mom, who remains unidentified reported the incident to Henrico Police. When Sanford's father, who has also not been identified, was asked about the reason he dumped the pennies he said it was because 18 years' worth of frustration had built up and got the best of him. He told WTVR that the last thing he wanted to do was cause a bigger rift between him and his daughter. But Sanford has made her intentions of not continuing a relationship with him very clear. 


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