Well this has to be one of the most eventful mileage runs I’ve ever heard of…
The Premise Of This Mileage Run
Twitter user Andrew Kimmel shares his experience doing a year end mileage run. He had just returned to Los Angeles from Indonesia, and found that he was 275 elite qualifying dollars short of maintaining his status with American Airlines (meanwhile he was 25,000 elite qualifying miles over the requirement).
American Airlines lets you buy up to the next elite tier, but they wanted him to pay $1,875 to keep the status. So he decided to embark on what I suppose isn’t even a mileage run, but a “money” run.
He booked a $400 roundtrip ticket to Mexico, and he’d have 24 hours on the ground. He figured he might as well have some fun with qualifying, rather than just handing the money over to the airline.
How Someone Allegedly Ended Up In A Mexican Jail
Well, the mileage run didn’t go as smoothly as one would hope. You can check out the full Twitter thread here, but to summarize:
- Andrew went out to a bar, and was presented with a bill of $300 for the two beers he ordered, which was clearly a scam; he gave the bar manager his credit card, but it declined due to fraud, and his phone had also died earlier in the evening
- The bar manager threatened him and took him to an ATM outside to get money; Andrew refused to withdraw cash, so the bar manager called the cops
- The police showed up and handcuffed Andrew, while the bar manager took Andrew’s passport and debit card
- When he was placed in jail, the cops said they’d just leave him there for 30 minutes, and would then release him
- He was in jail for hours and hours, and the following day he was released when the police informed him that his “friend” had paid bail; the “friend” was a woman from Kenya, who said “I heard what happened when you came in, so I figured you could use some help”
- She had been arrested because she ordered an Uber and allegedly didn’t pay
- At this point it was 2PM and his flight was at 3:26PM, and the Kenyan lady joined him to the airport
- At the airport he asked if there was any way he could get on his flight without his passport; after quite a bit of back and forth, and being directed to purchase an immigration form, he was eventually allowed to fly without a passport
- In the meantime he had run back to the car, where the Kenyan woman grabbed his hand, told him everything would be okay, and kissed him, and then he kissed her back
- He was routed home on the last flight out of Cabo on American, which would have been through Phoenix, arriving in Los Angeles at around 10PM
I think those are the key details, though there are all kinds of other details that add to the story as well, from someone else paying for his dinner the first night, to his crazy cell mate, to him getting a free ride the next day, to his friends creating a meme the second he told them about the story that perfectly summed up what happened, even though they didn’t yet have all the details.
American Airlines’ response to this?
LOL. In fairness, if you look at the timestamps, that was sent after the first Tweet, before the rest of the story. So American wasn’t actually in the wrong here, though it looks kind of funny.
Is This Story Real?
My first instinct of course was that this story had to be made up. All of this is just too “perfect.” Every part of it, from the Kenyan lady saving him, to his phone just happening to die, to him having a single credit card on him, to him being rebooked on the last flight, to… well, everything else.
I would note that Andrew appears to work in TV, and is a former reality TV producer. That’s not to say he made up the story, but I think he certainly has an eye for what makes a good story, and what makes good drama.
As presented, just about all parts of the story add up. For example, he shared a screenshot of the credit card fraud alert, so I believe that happened.
The timing of other things even adds up. If he was rebooked through Phoenix he would have arrived back in Los Angeles at around 10PM, and sure enough he posts a picture of that gate upon arrival, and it is the right gate at the right time.
He also shared WhatsApp messages with the Kenyan woman, and the timing of that was logical as well.
So as much as this story sounds absolutely nuts, I can’t actually find a factual flaw in what he has presented.
This is a heck of a story. It’s getting popular, and I suspect it’s about to go really viral. And that’s for good reason, because it has all the elements of a good story.
If I absolutely had to guess, I’d say that this story is mostly true, at a minimum. I absolutely think he went to Cabo, and I also think it’s highly likely he went to the bar and was scammed there, based on the screenshots of the credit card fraud charges. I also think it’s likely he lost his passport, as claimed.
What I’m curious about is how many of the other details that make this a really awesome story are true. For example:
- Was he really put in jail?
- Was he really bailed out by a Kenyan woman who just happened to overhear his story?
- Did he really end up kissing her, in what almost sounds like a romantic comedy premise?
So I do think this is at least mostly true. What a story to start the new year!
What do you make of this story — do you think it’s mostly true, completely made up, or somewhere in the middle?