ONTD Political

Reddit Travel Guy Uses Unlimited Flight Benefits To Do Favors For Strangers

4:24 pm - 08/12/2012
opera house

Earlier this year, Daniel was just another unemployed college student preparing for summer vacation.

"I was thinking of trying to get a job in video game design. I had been applying for internships -- and if that didn't work out, I was going to get an apartment with a friend and spend the whole summer coding," the 22-year-old forensics major told the Huffington Post.

But on a whim, just days before his summer holiday was due to begin, Daniel (who didn't want his full name revealed) said he came up with an idea that would change everything.

This summer, Daniel said, he was determined to do something dramatically different -- something meaningful and perhaps even a little profound.

Inspired by the travels of two Reddit users who had taken a jet-setting adventure across the United States in 2009, Daniel decided that he would spend his summer traveling around the world helping strangers in whatever way he could.

And like the two Reddit voyagers who had paved the way before him, Daniel took to the social news site to spread the word.

In his original Reddit post, Daniel, using the moniker Generique, explained:

I want to have a Reddit-powered epic summer adventure. As a result of having a family member employed by a large airline, I have the ability to travel non-rev status (if there’s empty seats and no one ahead of me in line), paying only departure taxes. I’d rather not disclose the specific airline, in case I get into shenanigans that might reflect on them.

Want me to hand deliver a letter to someone across the country or overseas? Attempt to help you with homework? Volunteer at your organization for a day? Need an extra pair of hands to do that landscaping project you’ve been putting off for months? Know a sweet hiking spot but have no one to go with?


"I realized that being able to fly for pretty cheap is a pretty big privilege, so I wanted to use it to the best of my abilities," he said. "Sure, I could've gone to Cancun or Ibiza and partied all summer, but I thought I'd be more productive and would really accomplish something if I helped people along the way."

Never, however, could he have imagined the response he would receive.


Within the span of 24 hours, thousands of comments had poured in and the requests -- from heart-meltingly sweet to outrightly bizarre -- were in no short supply.

Daniel estimates that he received approximately 300 requests from people all across the globe.

"Somebody wanted me to go visit them, collect a jar of fart from them and deliver it to one of their old roommates," said Daniel, recalling one of the weirder demands.

"Another girl -- whose father had just gone through a divorce and was having a bad year -- wanted me to go to Chicago to give him a hug," he said.

The young adventurer, an American who goes to college in Canada, admits that it was "extremely" difficult to decide which of the requests he would try to fulfill.

But within a week of his first post, Daniel -- having created a not-very-short shortlist -- packed his bags and began his adventure.

Over the next 11 weeks, Daniel traveled the world, doing what he could to bring a smile or two to a stranger's face.

From finding a spider in Australia…
spider

to moving a couch in Denver…
couch

to teaching English in a school in rural Thailand...
thailand

to sitting for a self-portrait in San Francisco.
painting

Four countries and several US cities later, Daniel had accomplished around 30 to 40 things on his list.

Out of all of them, Daniel told the HuffPost that the one task that has impacted him the deepest was perhaps one of the most mundane.

"I washed a car for a family, which was a really simple thing to do. It seems like such a small thing, but it seemed to really help," he said. "Their son has down syndrome and leukemia -- and for me to do that one small thing and leave, they seemed pretty thrilled by it."

carwash

Daniel also said he was deeply moved by the outpouring of encouragement and trust showed to him by the many people he met during his travels.

"I was staying with complete strangers, through Reddit, and the generosity of these people I had never met just blew me away. From couches, floors, pull-out beds and home-cooked meals, there was no end to what people were willing to offer. Some people even offered to lend me their car -- which I thought was pretty crazy," he said.

Now back home, Daniel said he hopes that he'll be able to do this again sometime soon.

"If possible, I would love to do it next summer," he told HuffPost.


[there's a slideshow at the end of the
source]

Sunday Feel-Good Story. It's been interesting to see the reaction to this story: people want and need permission to be kind. Sorry if this is too First World!
bleed_peroxide 13th-Aug-2012 12:10 am (UTC)
I would love to do something like this - it's awesome to see someone using something like that and putting it to wonderful use.
nutmegdealer 13th-Aug-2012 12:12 am (UTC)
this is really sweet and inspirational.
makes me wish my cousin still worked for jet blue and i wasn't a recluse.
mollywobbles867 13th-Aug-2012 12:19 am (UTC)
Can you shrink the first pic and put the others behind a cut? They are HUGE on my layout.
fickery 13th-Aug-2012 12:38 am (UTC)
Yes, this. And maybe add a title?
romp 13th-Aug-2012 12:42 am (UTC)
Sorry! I hope that's better.
mollywobbles867 13th-Aug-2012 01:44 am (UTC)
Yes. Thank you!
kawaiimamimi 13th-Aug-2012 12:22 am (UTC)
Sometimes I'm really happy to be part of Reddit. A lot of foul things come from there but also a lot of extremely touching things happen too.
belly_savalas 13th-Aug-2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
If only there was enough open disapproval of the foul* things from within the site, they might go away and it might actually be worth defending. Idk, what HE did with his resources is amazing, but it doesn't have shit to do with reddit.

*i would use a stronger word for a site that publishes how-to guides and support groups for rapists, but that's just me
romp 13th-Aug-2012 09:47 pm (UTC)
It does in that Reddit is how it was organized. That's who participated, who determined where he went, etc.

I haven't seen the worst of Reddit but I agree that no one would be hurt by them actually moderating it. There are safe places like the queer subreddit but plenty of places that aren't.
kawaiimamimi 14th-Aug-2012 05:04 am (UTC)
Reddit has done a lot of amazing things as a group, like raising money for people who are ill, or sending letters to sick people when their relatives request it. I've definitely seen the worst and best of people on Reddit.
belly_savalas 14th-Aug-2012 12:09 pm (UTC)
And? I'm exceptionally distrustful of groups of people who do good things and also defend a site that promotes and protects vicious woman haters and outright rapists. Yes, this man used reddit as his social media of choice to accomplish something good, yes others have done the same. I still won't agree reddit isn't a cesspool until they address their huge, glaring, horribly violent issues, and I really don't think that's too much to ask.

Why utilize and defend a social media site which apparently has no qualms publishing kiddie porn and rape guides? Frankly I think getting people to defend reddit with "aw well they do good too!" is part of their effort not to ever have to address these things.
poetic_pixie_13 13th-Aug-2012 12:30 am (UTC)
As a white dude he's probably able to do things and go places other folks might not be able to.

That bit of Debbie Downer aside, this is a really sweet idea. Stuff like this is why I love the internet. Yeah, anonymity enables people to be absolutely disgusting. But there are also so many places where you actually make communities and support each other. Whether it's through stuff like this or just being supportive and helpful. Using that same anonymity folks share painful, personal stuff and help each other heal. I've met some of my closest, truest friends online, quite a few on them right here in _p, and they've helped me through some of the hardest parts of my life. I wouldn't trade that for anything.
romp 13th-Aug-2012 12:59 am (UTC)
I met my wife online 20 years ago and people just didn't DO that back then. But, yes, I think it can be good for community and friendship, esp in combination with same in RL.
carminaburana 13th-Aug-2012 12:37 am (UTC)
Aw, cute story. Love the range of requests he got!

Also, bb please put the pics behind a cut. This post is killing my friends page layout.
citiesburning 13th-Aug-2012 12:41 am (UTC)
I feel like there must be a lot of Redditors working at HuPo or something ... 75% of the articles that come up on my newsfeed (fb) is from Reddit... This was lovely though. It's nice to read stories of people being kind. I have also found, when I've traveled, people have been super nice - and go out of their way to do so.
romp 13th-Aug-2012 12:47 am (UTC)
I think employees/interns at HuffPo, Yahoo, talk shows, etc., go through Reddit daily. I def see many stories there and then elsewhere. Which makes sense: Redditors find, vet, and react to stories like a test market.

I recall reading about a couple of women who cycled across the US separately in the early 1900s. They slept on people's porches, were fed, and had no bad experiences. The were white, of course, but I recall being stunned. TV crime shows had taught me otherwise.
seasight 13th-Aug-2012 12:57 am (UTC)
http://vespa-vagabond.blogspot.com/

You might like that. :)
romp 13th-Aug-2012 04:17 am (UTC)
Sounds life-changing. Thanks!
bestdaywelived 13th-Aug-2012 02:35 am (UTC)
I think that's amazing, although I wouldn't do that now.
recorded 13th-Aug-2012 11:07 am (UTC)
Redditors find, vet, and react to stories like a test market.

This can be a pretty bad thing because reddit is incredibly male-centric, which isn't really shocking considering it's main demographic is dudebro.
ook 13th-Aug-2012 02:17 am (UTC)
I used Reddit as a newsfeed for world news and political news all the time now. The Politics section always has a nice selection of articles with an anti-Romney slant. I won't join Reddit though...there's far too much disgusting stuff on there. Moderation is pretty poor.
chaya 13th-Aug-2012 12:47 am (UTC)
Article title?
romp 13th-Aug-2012 12:54 am (UTC)
thanks, I bounced the HTML coding between 2 windows and things got wacky...better now!
bestdaywelived 13th-Aug-2012 02:32 am (UTC)
That's really cool. Maybe it's because I'm a woman, but I feel like trusting random strangers for a place to crash is so unsafe, but it's cool that he's doing something awesome.

Also, an aside, but I always think everyone on Reddit is a hipster or an MRA. Glad that I've been proven wrong.
romp 13th-Aug-2012 04:15 am (UTC)
MRA?
seasight 13th-Aug-2012 04:22 am (UTC)
Men's Right's Advocate
paksenarrion2 13th-Aug-2012 04:31 am (UTC)
Men's Rights Activist.

Basically a bunch of men bawwwing about how they they are oppressed and have less rights now that us womenz are trying to be treated equally.
romp 13th-Aug-2012 06:31 am (UTC)
Oh god, yes. I ran into one guy who fought for the cause there.
lil_insanity 13th-Aug-2012 05:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I really wish I could do something like this, but (aside from not having the money to do so) I'm way too afraid of trusting random strangers that much.
influencethis 13th-Aug-2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
There's definitely a neckbeard army there. There's also a bunch of people trying to fight against them setting the tone for everything.
layweed 13th-Aug-2012 03:05 am (UTC)
Aw, that's an awesome way of travelling the world.

OT but, I'm disappointed there haven't been any NBCfail Olympics posts here for the last two weeks. SO MUCH FAIL TO DISCUSS OMG.
ten_of_swords 14th-Aug-2012 03:04 pm (UTC)
He's not sitting for a self portrait - he's sitting for a portrait. Self portrait means you're painting/drawing an image of yourself.

Otherwise, it looks really cool. I'm sure he got some god awful requests, glad to see he was able to pick some good ones.
romp 14th-Aug-2012 04:22 pm (UTC)
You're so right! Something was bothering me about that phrasing but I hadn't figured out what.
wathsalive 15th-Aug-2012 12:57 am (UTC)
Good for him! If you're travelling the world helping people along the way is the way to go

Unlimited flight benefits is very close to my ideal lifestyle nagl

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