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When I came up with the idea to share some of my frequent flier miles this holiday season, it never occurred to me how hard this would really be. It never occurred to me that choosing who gets to go home would be a Solomon-like decision, one that my assistant Meagan (and I, to a lesser extent) wrestled with all day. This was a really, really tough contest to judge. I was smart enough to know that I’d never be able to pick, since all the entries would be worthy of a free trip home, so I delegated, like any smart boss does. Meagan hasn’t had a dry eye all day, but by default, neither have I.
Thank you to all who shared the news of this, passed it along to friends, and thanks to those who entered, and more importantly, thank you to all who asked if you could donate funds, supplies, etc., to make this contest even more valuable to the winners. You can! I totally didn’t expect that! If you left a comment asking to donate, shoot me an email at peter at shankman dot com, and I’ll get right back to you. I’m just sorry I couldn’t do more – I hope some of my readers can! Again, I’ll gladly put anyone in touch with any of the entrants, if you’d like to help!
One anonymous donor (thank you so much, I wish I could mention your name publicly!!) already sent me a nice Paypal donation for me to give each person heading home a small gift, so make sure you read what they’re getting below!
One more thing – Again, it wasn’t easy to do this – I believe that every person who entered has a hugely compelling reason for getting home, or getting someone home to them, and I wish I could send them. I do know, however, that I have a lot of friends who also travel as much as I do. If anyone wants to help send someone home using their miles, just pick a person from the comments, email me, and I’ll put you in touch with them. There’s no reason this has to stop with just me! If you have elite status, you can pull a round trip ticket for as little as 25,000 miles! Come on, road warriors! Join me and let’s make more of these comments a reality!
One last thing: When I posted the contest, my original thought was to give two tickets a piece to two winners… But as the comments came in, I kept looking for two people, and the overwhelming majority were solo people, just trying to get home to family, or family, trying to get their solo family member home to them. I realized I could do twice the good deed if we gave out four single tickets, so that’s what we’ve done. Hopefully next year, I can put together something even bigger, get more people involved, and give tickets home to everyone who wants one. That’s my goal, anyway.
Now… With that said, Meagan and I are sending the four people below home for the holidays! If you’re on the list, email me, either today or tomorrow (as ASAP as you can) AND INCLUDE YOUR PHONE NUMBER, so I can call you and we can get this ball rolling to grab you your tickets!
DAVID CRUMBAUGH – YOU’RE GOING HOME TO SEE YOUR WIFE AND SON! Thanks to an anonymous donor, you’re also going to get a brand new NFL regulation Football that you and your son can toss around on Christmas morning! Email me ASAP, David! Here’s what David wrote: Peter – love your information. I am currently separated from my wife and son (age 6, 7 on the 27th). They live in Dayton, OH and I am in Austin, TX area. Due to supporting 2 households and under the weight of several medical bills (my son has Asperger’s and requires therapy and many doctor’s appointments), traveling there for the holidays is very very unlikely. We talk on the phone regularly but it has been 6 months since i have seen him. He is an amazingly smart boy who is hooked on the NFL (telling me last week how the Bears led the NFL in turnovers – his comment not mine!). It would make my holiday but more importantly his to know for sure I can be there on Christmas morning and for his birthday 2 days later.
05Girl: WE’RE FLYING YOUR MOM DOWN TO ATLANTA TO SPEND THE HOLIDAYS WITH YOU! Thanks to our anonymous donor, we’re also going to make sure there’s a little something to help with a nice holiday dinner. Email us ASAP, 05Girl! Here’s what she wrote: Now THIS is the spirit of giving! For your consideration, please consider my mother. We’d much like to get her down to ATL from CVG (or Dayton, given how outrageous prices at CVG can be) this year. It would mean considerably more because it’s been a tough year for my mother: earlier this year she lost her husband about 8 months after diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma. In light of the diagnosis, they married at Christmastime last year and her husband passed on just 4 months later. Struggling on her teacher’s assistant salary, she soon found herself without a car (repossessed) and having to move from the home they shared for 10 years (now staying in family’s basement). Meanwhile myself and my sisters live in Atlanta; my sisters have both started new jobs recently and cannot take off work for the holiday. None of us can afford travel for her right now. It would mean the world to my mom to come down for Christmas as this will undoubtedly be a hard time without the love of her life and her daughters. Thank you for your consideration!
KIMMY ZEARLEY: YOU’RE GOING TO SEE YOUR MILITARY SON, STATIONED DOWN in FT. MEYER, VA! Thanks to our anonymous donor, we’re going to throw in a gift card your way to make sure you can bring some great Christmas gifts for your son, who’s out there defending our country every day. Make sure to email us ASAP, Kimmy! Here’s what Kimmy had to say: Peter you are so sweet to do this for someone. My name is Kim. Last march my house burned to the ground and my daughter and I lost everything but the clothes on our backs. I did not have insurance and I am finally getting back up and running so to speak. My son is in the army stationed at ft meyer Va and I am in Oklahoma. He is part of the old guard. He cannot come home for christmas and I have not seen him for two years. I am starting over from the fire and cannot afford to travel at this time. I know it is not going home for christmas like you stated but I would be going to my son and that would be a great christmas present. My daughter goes to her dads for the holidays and generally I am by myself for christmas. So, whether or not you would pick me I am thankful you took the time to read my story and consider me. Merry Christmas to you and your family.SARAH S.: YOUR SON IS FLYING HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS! And thanks to our anonymous donor, we’re sending you a gift card to load him up with essentials on the way home! Make sure to email us ASAP! Here’s what Sarah wrote: I am writing on behalf of my son. Our story is not compelling like so many of the others I have read in this blog. I just miss him and he misses his family. He is in the Navy, Was shipped to Guantanamo Bay where someone convinced him it would be a wonderful experience to be a prison guard (not). He has done 2 tours on the USS Carl Vinson and was aboard the ship during the burial of Bin Laden. He was paid well during those times. But now he works 6 days a week, 12-15 hour days keeping the fighter jets in top notch condition. This work doesn’t pay well. I have been a single mom most of his life, work at a non-profit (not good pay), and a friend of mine told me to enter this. How nice of you to think of our military men and women. You are an inspiration! I just miss him, and so does his sister and his very old dog. 🙂 Happy Holidays!
Again – I just wish I could do more. If there’s enough interest, I’d love to help do this on a regular basis! I’ve also been fortunate enough to be advised of many charities that accept frequent flier mile donations. I’ll put up a list soon.
Congrats to our winners, and most importantly, happy, healthy, and safe holidays to every single person who reads this blog. I’m so, so blessed to have such a wonderful audience. Thank you.