A wedding photographer out of work due to the pandemic is making dreams come true for healthcare workers to thank them for their work. Teodora Simon’s offering started with a simple Facebook post, and now a soon to be wed couple is receiving more and more help to turn their big day into reality.
The Hungarian photographer’s story began when she was asked by a celebrity couple to photograph their wedding. It ended up being a “big haggling,” as she says. In the end, she decided that she cannot afford to accept the job for such a low wage that she was offered. “I am a mother of two children and the industry is frozen now. And after 8-9 years of being a photographer, I think I have prestige and I don’t have to accept everyone’s request.”
The photos of the celebrities were taken by another photographer – for a very low wage, as Simon found out. “I was very angry,” she says after she saw the photos in famous magazines. “Why does everyone let these people boss them around? They expect us to work for free in exchange for fame.”
She was telling the story to a friend who asked her why doesn’t she do some charity work instead. That was the moment she started thinking about who would be someone who deserves the celebrity treatment. “A lot of people are in the hospital these days and some are saving lives non-stop. No one does anything for them for free even though their job is the hardest.”
She made a Facebook post offering it to one couple working in health care to be their wedding photographer for free. Only a short introduction was needed with some details about their wedding. “Some people were saying I only did this because of the celebrity wedding. I’ve got mixed reactions,” she added. Finally, she picked a couple who both work as paramedic officers.
Gabriella Budai, the bride-to-be says one of her best friends sent Simon’s post to her but she didn’t think she and her fiancé would have a chance. “The only time I’ve won something was with a code on a chocolate bar’s wrapping. That’s my luck.” Then she showed the post to her fiancé and her mother and they both encouraged her to give it a try. She wrote the email during her shift with a big smile on her face, as she was told later by her co-workers.
“When Teo wrote to me first, I was jumping around, I was so happy and then, when she confirmed it later, I was crying happy tears, I couldn’t believe it.” Budai says this win means more to them than financial help. “It means appreciation. The current situation is very difficult but this offering puts happiness into our daily lives. Even if we didn’t win this ‘competition,’ I would still be forever grateful for a photographer’s encouraging words – whose work I love.”
Budai and her fiancé currently work 250-260 hours a month. Their schedule is mostly the opposite of each other’s. Although work is draining during COVID times, the couple loves their job and they can’t imagine doing anything else.
After Simon’s post, some people offered their help too in form of decorations, catering and dance lessons.
The wedding is set to be in early May which still seems uncertain as big events like this are not allowed in Hungary yet. But vaccination has started and one thing is for sure: two paramedic officers are working with renewed energy to stop the pandemic.