Published October 17, 2012
Making its way around the blogosphere Wednesday is a fun story about how having the right name (or wrong--however you look at it) can open doors to international travel.
Sharing the same name as a major global travel agency apparently comes with its fair share of laughs. But for a man named Thomas Cook, the jokes were getting old. Last November he posted a comment on the Thomas Cook U.K. Facebook page, writing:
"Seeing as I share the exact same name as your huge company, and because of this I have been ridiculed for as long as I can remember. I think it’s only fair that you help compensate for this by giving me one of your lovely holidays."
The agency declined, which doesn't seem like a stretch considering what people post on social media sites. But that's when another travel competitor stopped in.
Five days later, the website Tnooza reported that a representative from Lowcostholidays, a U.K.-based travel group saw the message and responded by offering a trip to Cook:
"Here at lowcostholidays.com we completely sympathise with your suffering and if your name was “lowcostholidays.com” we would certainly have accepted your request to be sent away on a weekend in Paris. … So how about we send you on that weekend in Paris?"
Cook eventually got his trip and on Wednesday he posted a smiling picture of himself in Paris on the social news site Reddit, which was voted to the number one most-read item. Lowcostholidays is also happy with all support and free advertising it won on Reddit, Imgur, Facebook and Twitter.
On the other hand, Thomas Cook, the agency, doesn't seem so pleased. Initially representatives began deleting posts on its Facebook page, but then responded to the situation with a bit of humor themselves, writing:
"Just a quick one from the team to say we're really pleased our namesake Thomas Cook looks like he's had a great time on his free trip to Paris!!! We’d love to have helped him out (along with all the other 'Thomas Cook's who write to us!), but we'd love to help out ALL of our other loyal customers too... so unfortunately we can’t give freebies to people who just happen to have fantastic names!"