An Open Letter to Everybody: Thank You. So Much.

A couple weeks ago I reached out to you, asking for help. My family and I were in need. I had been called home from New Zealand, after two years of traveling, because my sister was due for emergency surgery. There was no way, given my financial status, that I would be able to afford a $2,000+ plane ticket home. Air New Zealand, though I love them, wouldn’t even provide a compassionate fare. Thanks for nothing, mate. I was stuck on the other side of the world with no way to make it home to my family to be by my sister’s side as she slid into her hospital bed.

There was nothing I could do and nobody who could reasonably afford to fly me home. I sat in silence one afternoon, two weeks ago, on the phone with my sister. We were both out of ideas. Though I had vowed to be there for her, I had no idea how I would make it home.

It occurred to me that, though it was a long shot, I could try my luck on the internet, whether it be through friends, strangers, enemies or sympathizers. I would attempt to raise $2,400 NZD in 24 hours. At $100 per hour, this was a big ask. I purchased some internet (New Zealand—I despise you for this) fired up my notebook, and got typing. It didn’t take long to write what I needed. The emotions were flowing and I knew exactly what I needed to say and what I was ready to ask for.

I asked for nothing more than five or ten dollars from each person. I hoped, with great uncertainty, that 240 people would each donate $10. Instead, just over 50 people donated between five and two hundred New Zealand Dollars. I raised a total of $1,900.


I never actually thought this would happen. Old friends, new friends, acquaintances and strangers alike came forward to help a man in need. I was shocked, amazed, astounded. I couldn’t believe so many people came forward and stood by me when I was most in need.

And those of you who donated helped immensely. You have made an incredible difference to my family. And we thank you.

But I didn’t actually raise $2,400. This is largely due to an oversight on my part, one which made a difference of quite of a few hundred dollars. Had I been accepting donations in USD, the total would have come to $2,420. Not like I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth, I’m just rationalizing this win. Because, in my eyes, that’s what this was. I made it home to my family and saw my sister through her surgery.

Her operation went well. There were no complications and she recovered much quicker than we anticipated. She was comfortably back on her feet the next day when she was released from the hospital. Within a few days she was cooking and cleaning and even enjoying a glass of wine. I acted as her little errand boy as she was forbidden from driving or lifting anything heavier than five pounds. She has such a good brother.

And I have some incredible people on my side. How many people can say that 50+ people rallied together to make a difference in one person’s life? Not many. And because I am so insanely fortunate, I am going to pay this kindness forward. So many unexpected people came to my aid and it’s only fair that I do the same for you. And you. And you. Everybody deserves what I received. Whether it’s in donations or acts of kindness, I will do my best to impart this for the rest of my life. Because this is something I will never forget and I could never repay.

To everyone who helped by sharing the post or contributing any number of dollars, thank you. I am forever indebted to you and my family and I are immensely grateful for your generosity. You have truly made a difference.

Much love, respect and gratitude,


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