Toronto man finds woman with ex-girlfriend's name for free trip around world
Jesse Tahirali, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, December 17, 2014 7:46AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 17, 2014 5:56PM EST
A Toronto man looking for a travel partner with the same name as his ex-girlfriend has finally found his match.
After making headlines a month ago by offering a free plane ticket around the world to someone named “Elizabeth Gallagher,” Jordan Axani has found the right girl. Elizabeth Quinn Gallagher of Cole Harbour, N.S., will be headed to New York Thursday to begin the trip of a lifetime.
The journey began last month with a post to Reddit.com titled: “Are you named Elizabeth Gallagher (and Canadian)? Want a free plane ticket around the world?”
In the post, Axani said he was stuck with tickets purchased at a discount but worth several thousand dollars. He had planned a trip with his girlfriend, he said, but they had since broken up, and the airline wasn’t budging on the ticketholder names.
Axani’s apparently earnest offering blew up, attracting worldwide attention. The 28-year-old said he was surprised so many media outlets jumped on his story.
“When I made the original post on Reddit, I had no expectation of anything happening,” Axani told CTV News Channel. “The whole thinking behind it was, it’s a paid-for plane ticket around the world, and what a waste that would have been to have the ticket go to no use.”
Luckily, the name was common enough that 18 different Elizabeth Gallaghers came forward. The winning Gallagher, a 23-year-old student, says she plans to use the trip for more than just sight-seeing.
“I think we might try to do maybe some volunteering,” she said. “Maybe visit the culture and get to know the community more than just the touristy things.”
Gallagher said Axani and his brother had a fairly rigorous interview process for the trip because they were looking for someone who would make the most of the experience.
"He sent me a questionnaire, which is pretty long, actually, and I sent that back. And then a week later, they wanted to skype, and talk,” she said. “And I almost dropped out, until they mentioned the charity that they're doing, and I wanted to be involved in that."
Since the original Reddit post, Axani has used the attention to start up a charity called A Ticket Forward, which aims to offer those in need their own trip of a lifetime.
“By leveraging the power of storytelling and the latest in crowdsourcing technologies, we provide individuals who have suffered from health, financial, and other tangible misfortunes with the travel experience of a lifetime,” reads the website.
Gallagher – who will have a boyfriend waiting at home for her – and Axani still aren’t quite sure how this inaugural journey will work out. They have plane tickets to Milan, Prague, Vienna, Delhi and Bangkok, as well as free hotel rooms courtesy of Marriott Hotels, but no solid plans for what will happen in between.
“I don’t even know how much travelling together we’re really going to do,” Axani said. “We may just see each other on the plane, and that’s really about it.”
“This is very much a social experiment in many ways, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”