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How A Single Mother Dealt With Criticism After Her Craigslist Ad Went Viral

"Something beautiful turned into something dark."

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Autumn Mazzitelli has spent the past 48 hours being interviewed and written about by media from around the world. She's the single mother who posted an ad to the Victoria, B.C. Craigslist entitled, "Mother & Son Seeking Family to Adopt us for Christmas."

victoria.craigslist.ca

"I would love 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!" Mazzitelli wrote.

She has now deleted the ad, and also removed the Facebook post that had caused it to spread and capture attention. "It turned into a crazy, painful thing," she told BuzzFeed Canada. "Something beautiful turned into something dark."

Mazzitelli received many kind responses to her ad. But she also became the target of nasty online comments on news articles. "I got so many people hating on me for being a 'shitty' parent for putting my kids in danger," she said.

BuzzFeed Canda

"They say don’t read the comments section, but I’ve never had a comment section before," she said.

Mazzitelli said she wants people to know she wrote the ad for her friends, and their friends, to see if she might be able to meet new people in Victoria.

"It wan't supposed to go anywhere other than to my friends," she said. (To keep it somewhat concealed, she posted the ad to the "lost and found" category on Craigslist, "because it wasn't a commonly utilized section.")

"I wrote it like I was writing an ad, and I thought it was funny and sweet, and thought it might make somebody else reach out," she said.

Mazzitelli said all of the Christmas invitations she's since accepted have come from friends of friends, with the exception of a local firefighter who lives in her neighbourhood with his family.

The experience caused her to write a new Facebook post detailing what happened, and why she did so many media interviews. "Within 48 hours I was contacted by, what felt like, every single news reporter on earth," she wrote.

Facebook: autumn.mazzitelli

"They started writing stories without my damn permission anyway and spinning it in a pretty odd way so I figured I may as well talk to a couple of them before they just spoke FOR me."

Similarly, she said she spoke to BuzzFeed Canada to be sure people understood why she posted the ad.

"I was just trying to make a point: That its so easy to find oneself lonely at Christmas and I didn't want to be lonely.... I was going to choose not to be lonely, other people could too," she wrote.

More than anything, she said, she wants people to understand that a big reason for posting the ad was to help other people in her circle reach out if they too would be alone, or lonely, at Christmas.

"When you're alone on Christmas the feeling is like, 'Oh well, everyone but me is with family right now,' but that's not the case," she said. "Whatever you're feeling, there are so many people feeling it. We have this beautiful platform — social media — that can be used for such good if we only tap into it and act with love."

Craig Silverman is a media editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

Contact Craig Silverman at craig.silverman@buzzfeed.com.

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