Dallas and Toni — the hunky college student and his doting mother — made a strong bid for The Amazing Race‘s $1 million prize. Unfortunately, leaving their money and Dallas’s passport in a Russian taxi was a fatal misstep that cost them their chance at victory. But it wasn’t a total loss. Dallas got to know fellow racer Starr, leading to a romance that is going strong. Dallas and Toni spoke with PEOPLE after their elimination episode aired Sunday to discuss the money-and-passport gaffe, how the Race led to romance and what Toni discovered in Cambodia. — Nicholas White
How did you feel after the show?Toni: It was pretty emotional because it had been such a wonderful run and such an incredible experience. The circumstances are what they are, and that’s just life. I don’t think that was something that weighed too heavily upon us. Dallas: Since the show aired, I haven’t been back to my college town to the bars for everybody to call me an idiot yet. I should still feel alright for at least another week.
How did manage to lose your money and passport?Dallas: I hopped out of the cab I was in to get into another cab. We were in that cab for about 20 or 30 minutes. After I went to pay that second cab, I finally realized that the money and passport were left in the first cab during the microphone exchange.
Did you think you could get it back?Dallas: What I did was take that second cab back to a hotel that we stayed at on that last Pit Stop. I used the concierge service to get the taxi that I was going to then take later. I had got the money from some of the other Racers. The plan was to get a free taxi for a little bit, and then figure out the passport situation. Toni: I was just praying on the fact that I hoped somebody in Russia would return that passport and that taxi driver would turn it in knowing that he’d be at that hotel would turn it in there or the embassy. I was kind of banking on that.
How hard was it to beg for rubles?Dallas: A lot of the younger kids gave us money … It was the older who were stingier. Toni: One man was actually going to pawn his cell phone to give us money. He was begging taxi drivers to take us and they wouldn’t do it. That’s what I realized, here in America, who would pawn a cell phone to help somebody they didn’t know?
Dallas, what’s the connection with Starr?Dallas: Starr is very adventurous and outgoing. She’s definitely got a strong personality like me. That’s kind of where we clash. We butt heads because we both want our way all of the time. As you can see on the show, she gets pretty upset when things don’t go her way. I get upset when things don’t go my way. We both like to go out and do adventurous things. We both fight for the same stuff. That’s the level we connect on. She has a real good heart. She works with kids with autism in New York. That’s another side of her that I really like.
Who was the pursuer?Dallas: She was the pursuer, for sure. Finally I gave in. I was like, “I don’t want to see this girl work too hard.”
What’s the future look like?Dallas: Only time will tell. She’s in New York and I’m in California. We’ll have to see where it goes. It’s positive right now. We’ll take it one day at a time. She came out after the show ended and we went skydiving. On her birthday, we went spelunking, an intense cave dive. We’ve done some amazing adventures. We’re going to do some bungee jumping as well. We’ll see how that goes.
What did you get her for her birthday?Dallas: I got her a little mushy sweetheart present, a picture frame with pictures and some music. We went out to dinner for the night, a fondue restaurant. Solid.
Toni, what was your favorite part of the Race?Toni: Cambodia, without a doubt … The of Cambodia were the most peaceful, gentle, loving I’d seen in my life. It really showed me that we need to refocus our lives. It’s not about the stuff — it’s about the . Monty Brinton/CBS