Good Samaritan Gives Away His Frequent Flyer Miles So Strangers Can Fly Home for the Holidays
One frequent flyer is playing Santa this Christmas, and he’s gifting his frequent flyer miles to travelers in need.
Peter Shankman, a businessman, educational speaker and podcaster travels a lot for his work. In 2018 alone, he’s visited Asia 11 times, Europe and “all over America countless times,” according to a campaign hosted on the social media site Imgur called Home for the Holidays.
Through all of his travel, he’s accumulated nearly 300,000 frequent flyer miles, and instead of hoarding them for himself, he’s spreading the love this holiday season.
“See, I’m not rich, I’m not famous, but I do have one unique resource at my disposal. All my travel means I have a LOT of frequent flier miles. Like, a LOT,” he writes. “And the last thing I want to do with all those miles is when I’m finally home is actually go somewhere. But there are only so many times I can give a free flight to my assistant and her boyfriend or my parents.”
“For the third year in a row: If you can’t afford to go home for the holidays, I’d like to sue my miles to get you home,” he continues.
In order to be considered, interested candidates had to create their own Imgur post explaining why they should be sent home between Nov. 21 and Nov. 26. Shankman announced he wouldn’t be choosing the people he’d be flying back to their loved ones. Instead, he asked other Imgur users to vote on their favorite posts to decide who the most worthy candidates were.
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“I’m not going to choose who wins. You are. The authors of the posts in the Home for the Holidays category with the most upvotes will go home. It’s that simple,” Shankman writes. “And just like last year, there are no strings, I’m not selling anything, I’m not begging for Internet points. I truly want to say thank you for the joy this site has given me when I needed it most, and this is the best way I know how to do that.”
At first, Shankman said he was prepared to send at least two (possibly three or four) people home on United Airlines flights within the U.S.
But after learning about his campaign, other gracious travelers hopped on board and offered their frequent flyer miles to other travelers in need. In a separate Imgur post Shankman announced he would be sending ten people home for the holidays, including a dad who wants to go visit his child with autism for the holidays and a teacher with a rare parasitic illness who wants to go visit her parents.
However, Shankman did have one ask of his own. Although he didn’t seek any monetary compensation, he did ask one thing of his recipients: “don’t forget to be nice…”
“Airline employees probably have some of the worst jobs in the world, especially around the holidays,” he wrote. “So when you take your flight (and this goes for anyone flying this holiday season, or anytime, really) do try and be nice to them, ok? They’re probably already going through hell, and they want to get you home as much as you want to get home.”