David T. Foster III/The Charlotte Observer

"I believe in living happily ever after, which is what you see in those movies."

Michelle Darrisaw
November 29, 2017

Who hasn’t watched a romantic movie on the Hallmark Channel and imagined what it’d be like to fall in love with your soulmate? The feel-good channel has a knack for capturing those saccharine holiday moments and brewing romances between two unlikely people in a small town.

Well, one grandmother is no longer living vicariously through her favorite on-screen characters. For Petra Sutherland, a 73-year-old hopeless romantic who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, the classic Hallmark love story is more than just a holly jolly escape—it’s now a part of her real life.

Inspired by a plot she saw in an original movie on the Hallmark Channel, Sutherland posted this simple holiday wish on the website Nextdoor.com to achieve her very own happily-ever-after ending: "Wanted, a boyfriend for Christmas. Please send a message." Sutherland, who moved from Florida to "The Queen City" in 1989, was confident the personal ad would work in her quest to find love because she saw how the bold, risky move brought two people together in a Hallmark movie.

"I was sitting here, watching one of those Hallmark Christmas movies, and I couldn’t help but think it might work for me," Sutherland said. "I believe in living happily ever after, which is what you see in those movies. I thought: Why not try it in real life? Maybe I’ll find my dream guy."

Instead, what the mother of three woke up to on Wednesday, November 22, was a bah-humbug message from staffers at Nextdoor.com, alerting her of a policy violation. Despite the warning, her post remained up on the site until the next day. By Thursday, she had received myriad responses from women who recognized where she got the idea from and others who praised her for her spunk and courage.

"Sounds like a Hallmark movie I’d seen recently. Good luck," posted Deb Klick of Wendover on Nextdoor.com.

"Fortune favors the bold, good luck with your manhunt!" wrote John Fry of Sardis Pointe.

As far as potential partners, Sutherland heard back from three lucky men. But if they want a chance with Sutherland, who describes herself as a Carolina Panthers fan with "a strong personality," they’ll have to be as charming as the Southern gents she watches on the Hallmark Channel. According to Sutherland, her dream guy is honest, fun, and close to her age—in that order.

Just in case you were wondering which Hallmark movie Sutherland plucked the ad idea from, you’ll probably have to search through a few favorites on the DVR. No spoilers here, but there are a lot of Hallmark films that portray characters employing personal ads to look for love or find suitors for their single mom or dad. We're assuming, though, that Sutherland turned to the aptly-titled A Boyfriend for Christmas for help in the romance department. 

I admit that I watch some Hallmark movies over and over," Sutherland said. "It makes my day. I think the holidays are romantic and I haven’t given up hope that I’ll find someone to enjoy life with. It’s my Christmas wish.

WATCH: Hallmark's Christmas Movies Are a Tinsel-Fueled Machine

Here’s to hoping Sutherland gets what she really wants for Christmas—a real-life, Hallmark-inspired love story with the perfect fairy tale ending.