Handwritten letter rounds off search for Wendy from Wings over Wairarapa
On a rainy Sunday afternoon earlier this year, Richard was left with a dilemma.
He'd met a woman – a redhead named Wendy – at the first day of the Wings over Wairarapa show. They'd met briefly by the biplanes and he thought there was something there.
Saturday he'd looked for her with no luck. Sunday was his last chance but Richard, who didn't want his last name used, was still out of luck - bad weather cancelled the airshow.
"I was left on a rainy Sunday thinking 'what can I do?'," he said.
Facebook was out - all he had to go on was the name "Wendy". So he did the next best thing and took out a classified ad in the Dominion Post.
"I met you on Friday at the air show," it read, "long lovely red hair and I suggested you were the mystery star of Frozen II".
He suggested meeting for coffee, signed off "Richard (in the hi-vis jacket)" and ran the ad twice, on February 27 and March 2. Then, he sat back in hope.
What he didn't count on was the power of social media. His humble print ad was photographed and splashed across Facebook, shared across a multitude of pages by people rooting for a bit of romance.
"On the one hand, when I first saw it I thought that's good, getting the message out," he said.
But as interest ramped up so did his nerves. People around the country – and even from Australia – were reading and sharing his story.
"I just thought it was a little classified ad that might rate a little response, certainly not this performance."
But it worked and last Friday he received a handwritten letter from Wendy - although it didn't quite contain the "yes" he was after.
"I have to say, this letter from Wendy makes it all worthwhile, even if all she said was 'no'."
For Richard, this was the second best outcome – if you get told no, this is how you want to hear it.
"What a very flattering compliment to receive, and such a beautiful gesture for the whole country to smile about," Wendy wrote.
"Think of how many people you made giggle and smile that day, me especially."
She signed off as "Wendy (with no hi-vis)".
While Wendy was not available, Richard wasn't likely to give up his search for love – although he said he might drop the ad approach.
"It's probably a bit unsubtle."