Peter Shankman spends a lot of time in the air. As a public relations specialist, he flies all over the world, talking about marketing and his experiences with ADHD.
In 2016, Shankman grabbed 350,000 frequent flyer miles because of his job. He could use those miles for first class upgrades, as he has in the past four years. However, this year he has decided to reunite people who wouldn’t normally have the means to make it home for the holidays.
“I’m not rich, I’m not famous, but I do have one unique resource at my disposal,” Shankman said. “Because of how much I fly, I have a TON of frequent flier miles. I usually give them to my assistant, my family and my friends. Needless to say, this makes them very happy.”
“But again this year, even after giving away my miles to my assistant, my friends, and my family, I have a lot of miles left over.”
Instead of first class upgrades he took to Imgur to ask other people to donate their own miles to the cause and ask if anyone needed a plane ticket home this year.
He originally planned to send two to four people home for the holidays, but with all the donated miles, he’s now able to send 10 people.
More than 120 people asked for help getting home and Shankman had Imgur users vote on the best stories.
One dad is now able to fly and see his son with autism and a woman with cancer is flying to see her sister for the holidays.
Shankman said he “was floored” at the generosity shown among internet users.
“We bitch about everything: ‘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 notifying the people he was helping Shankman said most were amazed it wasn’t an internet scam.
“I think they were amazed that I was serious,” Shankman said. “It’s the internet ― you don’t expect that.”