Canadian man turns himself into walking billboard to find lover in Shenzhen

Updated: 24 Apr 2015
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A 60-year-old Canadian man traveled all the way from Vancouver to Shenzhen and turned himself into a walking billboard so that he could find his online lover.

The man, identified as Jake, told reporters that he met the woman through an online dating website almost a year ago and liked her instantly. The woman, whose internet alias is RiLi, told him that she was 45 years old, divorced and a worker at a garment manufacturing factory in Shenzhen.

For the past 11 months, the two have sent over 300 messages to each other through the website, using translators to communicate with one another, according to Sina News. Jake said he's spent almost 2,000 USD using the service for the past year.

The besotted fellow said that the two exchanged love poems and told one another that they loved each other, but because the website blocks all personal information, he has no other way of contacting her.

After RiLi failed to reply to his messages for dozens of days, he decided that the most sensible thing to do would be to travel to China, without knowing her phone number or even her real name.

He arrived at a hotel in Shenzhen and made a poster board to hang around his neck, seeking information from anyone who would help. For the past two weeks he's been walking around with the poster, hoping that people on social media will help him to get her attention.

"Shenzhen people are very friendly, they took my picture and added me on their microblog site," he told reporters, adding that he's been "very grateful" for the support he's gotten.

Some slightly more pessimistic passersby, however, have tried to warn him that the woman is likely not who she says she is, a fate that Jake is not willing to accept. "No, I believe her. We had an 11-month exchange. I could feel from the letters that she loves me."

This isn't the first story of a lovelorn lad traveling across the sea in a desperate bid to win over his online sweetheart. In March, an 18-year-old American traveled from Ohio all the way to Jiangshan, Zhejiang to meet with a lady-friend he'd been chatting up online.
The tale ended nearly tragically, however, when she blew him off and he was left to drown his sorrows in a bottle of baijiu. The teen was found passed out on the riverfront, and police said even a slight movement could've led to him falling in the water and drowning.
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