Sarah Latham, 33, this year found herself weighing a painful dilemma: Her grandfather is dying from cancer and lives 1,593 miles from her home in Texas. She knew that if she flew to New York to see him at Christmas, her family would go into debt to pay for the flight. If she skipped it, she might never see him again. “He’s had a long, hard fight, and it’s the last opportunity I’d have to see him,” Latham said. Then, her husband entered her into a contest. With several thousand votes from Imgur users, she became one of five winners. She is now able to go see her Grandfather one more time. “I’m happy I won because now I have the opportunity for one last memory,” she said. “After my dad died, the relationship I have with my grandfather became even more important than I have words to describe. This is my trip to say goodbye. “
The contest Sarah won was not run by a corporation or a charity, it was done by one man with a little help from others inspired by his idea. Peter Shankman travels for a living, giving speeches around the country. The last thing he wants to do in his free time is travel from his home in New York. So for the fifth year in a row, Shankman is donating hundreds of thousands of miles to people in need — those who can’t afford to buy a flight, but want to be with sick loved ones during the holidays, or a parent who wants to see a faraway child. His extra air miles will help, in all, five families to be reunited for Christmas using a total of 300,000 miles. About 200,000 are donated by Shankman, and the rest by others who were touched by his idea and wanted to donate as well.
It’s called the “Home for the Holidays contest” and it is Shankman’s way of giving back. “People ask me how I verify the stories of people who win the free miles,” Shankman said. “And I tell them, ‘I can’t.’ But if someone goes to all this trouble to get a free trip somewhere, maybe this will help them in some way. As long as my miles keep adding up, I’m going to continue to give them away.”
The donated miles will be used to fly a couple from Los Angeles to be with their family of 30 in Utah for Christmas; Also brothers who live in San Diego and North Carolina will be sent to share the holidays with their mother for the first time in years. A woman with Parkinson’s disease is off to Georgia with her son to place flowers on another son’s grave, 11 years after his death. And a man from Kansas will fly to New Hampshire for a surprise holiday visit with his mother, who had her second heart attack, and his father, who is fighting skin cancer.
All of these individuals entered into a contest on imgur and were voted on by thousands of people to win Peter’s contest. Why have it done this way? “because it was just too difficult to choose the winners ourselves.” Shankman said.
While it might be too difficult to choose winners, Shankman’s choice to provide these kind acts is admirable and more than enough to be your Good News Story of the Day which you can find even more about here.
Story and Image from The National Post.