A man managed to get a woman half his age to travel over 1,000 miles to his hometown for their first date after sending her a message on Instagram.
Robert Croak, 54, from Ohio, stumbled upon 27-year-old Sophia Spallino’s Instagram page in November last year and initially thought it was his friend’s niece ‘all grown up’.
Not letting this deter him, he took a screenshot of one of Sophia’s pictures and sent it to his friend to get confirmation of whether they were related. His friend’s response? ‘No, but she’s pretty hot’.
Robert then took his shot and followed Sophia, a social media influencer from Louisiana, on Instagram to admire her efforts as a budding social media star. Although she initially wondered why a man of his age was messaging her, Sophia eventually replied and they connected instantly.
The 27-year-old said their ‘mutual passion for entrepreneurship’ enabled them to form a fast friendship, which then quickly blossomed into a romance that saw them FaceTiming for hours at a time.
After talking every day for a month, they both felt ready to meet up and Robert, an entrepreneur and owner of Silly Bandz, persuaded Sophia to travel over 1,100 miles by plane to meet him for their first date.
Since I googled Robert and FaceTimed him so often, I immediately felt safe when he picked me up at the airport for our first dinner date. He leaned over the table and asked if he could hold both of my hands. I remember him saying, ‘We are finally here with each other’, and the nerves are gone.
Later that evening, he asked if he could kiss me. I remember closing my eyes, taking in the moment, and he said, ‘Give me your eyes’. I remember this intense moment of pure connection as we shared that first kiss, both looking deeply at each other and feeling so close.
Since that moment, the pair have become inseparable with Sophia saying they ‘work and play together every single day’. The influencer describes herself as ‘blessed’ to be able to do what she loves with the man she loves.
So what attracted Sophia to millionaire Robert? His heart, primarily, but also the way he interacts with people. ‘He makes everyone laugh and treats everyone with kindness — even animals and that means a lot to me,’ the 27-year-old added.
Although she first kept their relationship a secret from her friends and online followers, blurring out Robert’s face on her pictures until she was ‘confident [they] were pursuing a life-long partnership’, she eventually put a face to the name.
Introducing her new bae to her family six months into the relationship, Sophia said they realised ‘he is a 34-year-old in a 54-year-old’s body but with much more respect and honour for women’. Basically, ‘everyone loves him’.
The 27-year-old explained their plans for the future:
Everyone was just so excited we are happy; that kind of happy makes other people happy. We talk about the future all the time. Within the next two years, we plan on engagement, marriage, and a baby. Just one. We both want just one.
They don’t care about the judgmental looks they get from strangers either, insisting they were brought together for a reason; while Sophia says she has always had an old soul and is the most mature of her age group, Robert has apparently always acted younger than his age.
Saying life is too short to dismiss the relationship ‘based on numbers’, Sophia says they saved each other and ‘made one another believe in unconditional love’ again.
Robert says what attracted him to his 27-year-old girlfriend was her talent, creativity and intelligence, adding: ‘People don’t give her enough credit and she doesn’t give herself enough credit, but I am helping her see her true self — a brilliant woman’.
The 54-year-old also said his friends would be ‘shocked’ if he was with someone who wasn’t a lot younger than him because he has a ‘young spirit’.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).