Sandi Baudin “feels like a heel.”
Several weeks ago, the 61-year-old New Orleans resident was at an estate sale with her sister when they met a young man — possibly in his thirties — who told them he’d just moved to the area from Boston.
After talking while in line to enter the home hosting the sale, and then continuing their banter outside as they loaded up their vehicles (the man had Massachusetts license plates, she said) Baudin invited him to a pre-season football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, since she’s a New Orleans Saints season-ticket holder.
“He said to me, ‘Put your number in my phone,’” said Baudin, who had left her phone in her car at the time. “But I must’ve missed a number or typed one number in wrong or something.”
Because of the apparent flub, Baudin, who remembers hitting “call” so his number would show up in her phone, never heard from the man from Boston. And the mistake is weighing on her heavily.
Unable to let it go, Baudin and her sister decided to make a hand-written sign and hang it up near where the estate sale was held, on Constantinople Street in New Orleans. They were determined to find the young man, who said his name was “Abraham,” to let him know it was all a big mistake, and invite him to a future game at the Superdome — and people on the Internet are pitching in to track him down.
“He may think I pulled the wool over his eyes, and I don’t want to be thought of that way,” she said in a telephone interview. “It was just that I couldn’t go on without trying to tell him I wasn’t some kind of heel making bad deals.”
The sign read, “Hey Abraham from Boston. Call me. Lady from estate sale on Constantinople,” and included her phone number. It was placed on orange netting surrounding a construction zone on St. Charles Avenue, a prominent location where she hoped “Abraham” might see it.
“I’m not a cougar, believe me — it was nothing like that. It was more, ‘Hey, this is a really nice guy and he’s new to town and it can’t hurt to meet new people,’” she said. “Maybe he doesn’t know a lot of people here. I thought I’d take him to a football game so he can see how we tailgate here, compared to other places.”
It’s been a few weeks, and as of Monday morning, the sign hadn’t led to a call from the mystery Boston man. But it did get noticed by Will Haynie last week, a 30-year-old Louisiana native who was out for a jog in the area when it caught his eye.
Intrigued by what could be a “missed connection” he could help solve, Haynie snapped a photograph of the sign and then posted it to a community board for New Orleans residents on Reddit. It eventually made it to Reddit’s Boston thread but was later removed because it showed Baudin’s phone number, a violation of the group’s rules.
“I figured there are so many sleuths on Reddit that someone would figure it out” or find him, Haynie said.
When Haynie later learned that it wasn’t a love interest Baudin was looking for, and was instead a woman who wanted to correct a mistake, he was even more touched by the sentiment — and hopeful it would have a happy ending.
“I thought that was such a nice gesture to volunteer to take someone else to a football game with you and even more that she felt so bad about giving the wrong number that she put sign out,” he said. “That was just really nice.”
With the chance of connecting with “Abraham” in the hands of fate — and possibly some online detectives — Baudin said she’s standing by to take the call.
“It’s just a goofy story,” she said, “and me trying to go out there and let someone know that I wasn’t yanking their chain.”Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.