Peter Shankman is an entrepreneur, a speaker, and an author. He flies a lot for work...like a LOT. This past year, he flew a cumulative 350,000 miles. For reference, the moon is 238,000 miles away.
Shankman is a frequent user of the site Imgur, where people can post funny pictures, uplifting stories, and other random posts. He says the site helps him when he's travelling, acting as somewhat of a community for him to relax with.
Last year, Shankman decided he wanted to give back to this 'community' who helped him so much along his travels.
Peter Shankman and his daughter.
"When I'm home, the LAST thing I want to do is travel. I usually give my frequent flier miles to my assistant, and my family and friends. Needless to say, this makes them very happy. But this year, even after doing that, I had miles left over.
My point is, when I'm lonely, and in a time zone where my wife two-year-old are back home sleeping and I can't talk to them, I've found myself turning to Imgur more and more to pass the time. The photos, stories, and amazing adventures all of you share on a regular basis has helped me pass a tremendous amount of time this year, when it's 3am in Melbourne, but my body says it's 2pm in NYC.
I'd like to give back, if I may. I'd like to send at least two, (hopefully three or four) Imgurians home for the holidays. It's simple, really. If you're on Imgur, and can't afford to get home for the holidays to see your family, simply leave a comment below and tell your story."
Pretty amazing, right? Imgur users were encouraged to post their stories of why they want to go home for the holidays, and other users would vote on the winners.
There were only two conditions: the first was that it had to be within the USA for logistical reasons, the other was that it would be strictly United Airlines because that who he's most loyal to.
Stories poured in, not only about people wanting to go home, but also messages of thanks to Peter Shankman. People even volunteered to donate their own miles so that more people could be home for the holidays.
The winners were chosen and honestly, Shankman was even more giving than he seemed.
"@bentheidiot - Your coworker has a father who's dying. Imgur decided that your friend needs to go home to see his or her father. I've been in touch with you via PM, and your friend is going home to see their dad, perhaps for the final time.
And, because you put your friend's needs in front of your own, I'd like to send YOU somewhere, as well. So if there's anywhere in the USA you want to visit in the second half of 2016, consider your domestic ticket paid for with my miles. :)
And now to our second place winner: @Autistictic - Your husband is going home to see his folks for the first time in ten years! Now here's the deal - Because it's the holidays, seats are SUPER tight - So it would be a ton of miles to send both you AND him home for the holidays. From what you said, it seems like he hasn't seen them in ten years, which I assume means you haven't either, right? So here's the deal: I can get him a ticket home to see his parents for the holidays... Or, I can send the BOTH of you to see his parents, sometime in 2016, assuming you can get some childcare for your kid. You tell me what you prefer, and I'll make it happen. I've already PM'd you, but haven't gotten a response! Let's get on that, shall we?!"
This year, Peter Shankman is at it again.
He's extending the same offer in the hopes that people can be reunited with loved ones they otherwise wouldn't be able to see. Within 24 hours of posting his offer, hundreds of thousands of miles have been donated to Shankman so he can send even more people home this holiday season.
One user even went as far as to offer a trip home to someone who was looking, totally unprompted! A wife posted about her husband being away from home and his child. They are in the process of foreclosure and could really use a family reunion. So this user paid for the husband's flight home! His reaction is priceless.
Would you ever do something like this for a stranger? Let us know in the comments!