Two weeks ago, Gio Gonzalez set off a firestorm when he took to Twitter to find a date for the Nationals’ Dream Gala. Shortly after, the tweet was deleted and it seemed that Gonzalez had had a change of heart.
But it turns out that Gonzalez, perhaps realizing that he could use his powers for good, had found a suitable guest elsewhere. Petty Officer 1st Class Nyoka Duong was the lucky lady.
“I was told on Thursday afternoon that I had been nominated as a potential candidate to be a date for one of the Nationals players for the gala,” Duong told me. “And then I found out Friday after work that I was the lucky winner.”
Duong was nominated by her Master Chief for her work at Walter Reed Medical Center, and Gonzalez was more than happy to make her acquaintance.
“What she does is unbelievable,” Gonzalez told The Post’s Adam Kilgore in a conversation about the night. “I told her I was honored to have her next to me. She was just incredible the whole time. Just the whole joy, you could tell she was just excited. I was happy to have her next to me. She was a great guest.”
The Nationals arranged for a car to pick up Duong and bring her home at the end of the night. She also got to spend some time at Nats Park during the day to meet Gonzalez ahead of time. All she needed was a dress, and she settled on a black and white strapless ballgown, which set off Gonzalez’s black tux and red pocket square perfectly.
In true Gonzalez fashion, Duong said that he made her feel comfortable right away.
“He told me I looked nice,” said Duong, who admitted that she was nervous. “He’s very personable and down to earth. I mean, what you see is what you get, in a good way. Just seeing the way he interacted with the fans earlier in the day at the ballpark, and then at night.”
Gonzalez seems to have had just as good a time as his guest.
“I thought it was unbelievable,” said Gonzalez. “I thought it was fun. I’m more than happy to have that. How the night ended, it was even better. She went home happy, I went home happy. It was a great event.”
As for the disappointed masses who offered up their services on Twitter, Gonzalez offered a glimmer of hope.
“I had a couple people at the event come up to me, ‘Hey, how come you didn’t ask me to be your date?’ I was like, ‘Listen, we did this respectfully. Maybe next year.’”