Sil Mazzini was “shocked” and “upset” when she snapped a photo of her son, Teddy, sitting all alone at a pizza party for his 6th birthday and posted it to Facebook. The photo has gone viral — but Mazzini now says she regrets posting the heartbreaking picture.
Mazzini told the New York Post she was in disbelief when, about an hour into the party at Peter Piper Pizza in Tucson, Ariz., not a single one of the 20-something classmates Teddy invited showed up — even though 15 had RSVP’ed with a “yes.” “I was kind of shocked, and then at the end when I had to pay for it, I was upset,” Mazzini told the Post. “That’s why I wrote a message. But I never expected any of this — for this to go so viral.”
The kindergartener got over the situation pretty quickly, his parents said. For starters, his father, Ted Bollinger, had traveled all the way from his job in an Alaska oil field to attend the shindig. “He’s 6, so he was distracted by the arcade games, the pizza — he got over it quick. He’s tough,” Bollinger told the Post.
Still, the dad said he discouraged Mazzini from sharing the photo. “When Sil told me she was posting [the photo], I told her not to do it, but she did and it took off. It’s pretty wild,” he said. Mazzini even posted a video on her Facebook of news reporters showing up to the party with cameras. “I just honestly thought this would be local news in Tucson and maybe Phoenix, but we’re getting calls from around the world,” Bollinger said. “It’s nothing like I would’ve ever guessed — never in my wildest dreams.”
Mazzini says she wishes she had never shared the picture. “Honestly, I would love to go back in time and not have sent that message. We don’t want all the attention. We didn’t do this for attention or for gifts or anything,” she told the Post, referencing the outpouring of notes and presents Teddy has received from strangers. “I did it in the moment but I wasn’t smart. I was upset. That’s it.”
She said she gave the boy three options to celebrate his birthday — a trip to Disney World, a day at Legoland, or a party with his classmates — and he chose the third. Next year, though, the family is sticking with a trip.
On Wednesday, they’ll be taking a different kind of trip. One silver lining of the photo getting so much attention is that the family has been invited as special guests to watch the Phoenix Suns take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. “It’s going to be insane,” Bollinger said.
Mazzini said she did get some criticism for posting the photo, but she’s brushing that off too. “I don’t know; I cannot say anything,” she told the Post. “It happened, and you know — he’s a loving boy and I give him a lot of love, and I provide for him so he’s content. … He wasn’t sad that day, just during that moment.”
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