Peter Shankman travels a lot for his job. So for the past four years, he’s been helping others who don’t get that experience — particularly around the holiday — make those crucial connections when they need them the most.
Shankman flies around delivering marketing lectures, as well as more personal talks about his experience with ADHD. Since 2012, he’s teamed up with Abroaders, a travel-deal service, to encourage people to donate their miles — through United Airlines — to send people home for the holidays.
Shankman’s original plan was to send two to four people home this year; thanks to donations he solicited through Imgur beginning Nov. 28, 10 people are going to see their families.
“We bitch about everything,” Shankman explained to the Huffington Post. “‘My flight is late, I have to get up early,’” he said. “But we’re actually really lucky. We get to fly all over the place, see new things all the time. That I can do this ― I’m pretty fortunate.” After some deductions from his massive stash of 350,000 miles for his assistant, friends and family, the rest are going to strangers.
Shankman’s daughter coordinates the flight bookings with him: “I took her to San Francisco with me on a business trip earlier this year and she totally got the concept of air travel and miles,” he said. “She knows that good deeds are important. It’s pretty awesome.”
You can check out the list of the project’s winners here, which includes a dad flying to see his son with autism and a woman battling cancer whose sister is being flown out to see her. Shankman says he’s already contacted the people his project is helping this year, some of whom couldn’t believe their good luck. “I think they were amazed that I was serious,” Shankman said. “It’s the internet ― you don’t expect that.”
He adds that his project has continued as long as it has because “with any modicum of success comes the responsibility of giving back,” a great mantra to keep in mind this holiday — or really any — season.