US & Canada

Social media Romeo wins free flight after failed campaign

C.J. Poirer (left) is on his way to visit Becca Warren (right) after a beleaguered Twitter campaign Image copyright GoFundMe
Image caption C.J. Poirer (left) is on his way to visit Becca Warren (right) after a beleaguered Twitter campaign

A cash-poor young man has proven that perseverance and thousands of retweets are all it takes to conquer love.

Michigan native CJ Poirier wanted to visit his Canadian girlfriend in Newfoundland but lacked the funds.

When the 19-year-old failed to score a free flight by getting 530,000 retweets, he asked for celebrities to donate their retweets to his cause.

His campaigning finally paid off, and he will be on board a flight to visit his girlfriend next Monday.

It was a love story made for the social media age.

Mr Poirer met his girlfriend Becca Warren about a year ago online, where the two quickly bonded over video games and cartoons. But after six months of texting, they want to meet face to face.

A plane ticket from Michigan to Newfoundland would cost about $800, a steep price tag for a barista, Mr Poirer says.

That is where Twitter came in.

"How many retweets to get a free round trip flight to Newfoundland and see my girlfriend?" he asked.

"What's the population of Newfoundland?" Air Canada responded.

They agreed that he would have to get 530,000 retweets by 9 May in order to get a free ticket.

When he missed the mark - by about 498,000 retweets - the airline agreed to extend the deadline and let others "donate" their own retweets to his cause.

Mr Poirer tried to convince the likes of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and rapper Drake to help him out, but it was Canadian skating celebrity duo Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue who pitched in.

On Friday, Mr Poirer announced that he met the deadline, and that Air Canada would be giving him a free round-trip ticket to visit Ms Warren.

"WE DID IT!!!!!!" he tweeted, sharing Air Canada's post.

He has also raised $500 on a GoFundMe he created as a back-up plan to his Twitter challenge. He has not said what he plans to do with the money.

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