I guess the direct answer is "past perfect", but I don't understand why. Given the following sentences:
Newsweek: It was the first time my son had ever seen a homeless person
It was the first time my son had ever given me a gift.
The moment in which my son did these actions was at the same moment in the past in which the rest of the story took place. I cannot see two points in the past, I think there is only one point. So why I should use past perfect with this expression?