Is there anything you wouldn’t do to save a loved one’s life? Your friends and family members are the people who stick with you no matter what you’re going through, which is why you can’t put a price on the people you love.
So when a 62-year-old Swedish woman found out that the man she was falling in love with and his son had been violently attacked, she was prepared to do absolutely anything to help save them. That is until she discovered he was keeping a disturbing secret from her…
After going through a traumatic divorce, Maria Grette decided it would be best to put her romantic life on hold. Over the years that followed the divorce, the Swede focused all her energy on her career as an arts teacher, a painter, and an arts therapist.
However, after a few years went by, Maria’s friends begged her to start a new relationship. They knew she had closed herself off to the idea of falling in love again, so after a girls night, they all helped make an online dating profile for Maria…
Once her profile was up, Maria started getting messages from various men on the dating site, but she never looked at them after that night. “I received messages telling me that people had contacted me, but I never looked at them,” Maria explained.
You’ve Got Mail
But one day, Maria had the strongest urge to check the messages on her profile. “I still don’t know why,” she said. “It was like a sudden impulse happening before I could stop it.” As she sorted through the messages, one stood out from the rest…
Eye Catching Note
The message that caught Maria’s eye was from a man named Johnny, whose real name has not been revealed. According to his profile, he was a Danish man that had been raised in South Carolina and who was currently living in England while working as a civil engineer.
Getting To Know Each Other
Maria answered the 58-year-old widower’s note and the two started messaging each other regularly. “I was caught up by the atmosphere and by something in his words,” the 62-year-old said. In their messages, Johnny revealed more about his life and his son, who was a student in a Manchester university, and even spoke about meeting in real life…
Then, their online messages turned to phone calls. Johnny told her all about his plans to retire in Sweden and mentioned that he hoped they could meet in real life.”I wanted to meet him because I liked him,” Maria 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.”
Three months after Maria and Johnny met online, the two made plans to finally meet in real life. But before that could happen, Johnny explained he was going on a short trip to Nigeria with his son, who had a job interview in the country…
Calling From Nigeria
While at the airport, Johnny called Maria to talk one last time before the trip and even gave the phone to his son, Nick, so she could finally introduce herself. The next time she heard from Johnny, he was in a hospital in Lagos, Nigeria.
Shortly after arriving in Nigeria, they were mugged and Nick had been shot in the head. The mugger had taken all their money and papers, however, the hospital needed €1000 to continue treatment and Johnny’s bank didn’t have a branch in Africa…
Nowhere Else To Turn
“Honey, I am happy to hear from you and I am still at the hospital,” Johnny said. “The doctor said we were 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…”
Life Or Death
It would take days for his bank to transfer the money from Johnny’s UK account, and if he couldn’t get the money together in time, he would likely lose his son. Maria couldn’t bear to hear Johnny in so much pain and decided she had to help…
Making The Transfer
“I will never forget how I rushed to the Western Union office, trembling while I did the transfer,” Maria said after sending the €1000 to an account in Nigeria. “All I could think of was to get the two persons in Nigeria out of danger.”
However, after that initial transfer, there were several complications and the hospital demanded more money to continue Nick’s treatment. Maria ended up transferring thousands of dollars to the Nigerian account, but eventually started getting the feeling something wasn’t right…
Tricked By Scammers
Once Maria realized she had fallen for a scam and had been tricked into giving away thousands of dollars, she stopped answering Johnny’s messages. However, three weeks later, she got a call from a stranger that changed everything.
The man on the phone confessed that he made Johnny up to scam her. “I said I already knew that. I asked him to tell me his true identity and he did,” said Maria, who found out she had really been talking to a 24-year-old Nigerian who had turned to ‘419’ scamming after he couldn’t get a job after going to university…
Trip To Nigeria
However, the connection they forged over the months was real and his guilt compelled him to confess. Despite everything that had happened, Maria forgave him. “I wanted to meet him,” she said. “I could not live with this relationship unless it was adjusted to reality in all senses.” So Maria went to Nigeria. “When I saw him at the airport in Abuja, tears fell over his face, and I knew I had known him all my life.”
Inspired To Help
During the trip, Maria and Johnny’s friendship grew and he introduced her to his friends, who were also scammers. “I asked myself what I could do to prevent a situation where healthy, good young men fall into this trap,” she said. Years later, she came up with an idea to help African artists gain experience, and get international grants and funding. “Johnny has given me more than he took,” Maria said, “Without him, I would not have met Africa…”
Friends For Life
Maria, now 69, later helped Johnny go to the United States and enroll at an American university. She even provided financial support until he finished his degree. After graduating, he was able to get a job in the American oil sector.
Despite the way they met, the two are still close friends. And while they don’t get to see each other in person very often, they talk regularly to update each other on their lives. “He is very dear to me,” Maria said. “He has asked me so many times to forgive him and I told him that the most important thing is to forgive himself.”