By Andrea Romano
January 02, 2020
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Some trips are, shall we say, more eventful than others. And one man’s account of what was meant to be a short, 24-hour trip will certainly make you grateful for your last forgettable travel experience.

Andrew Kimmel, a TV and digital video producer, tweeted to American Airlines on Dec. 31 about a recent mileage run that had gone terribly wrong.

Nicolas Economou/Getty Images

First, if you don’t know was a mileage run is, it’s a typical practice among elite frequent fliers in which they take short trips in order to keep their loyalty status with a particular airline. That’s what Kimmel was trying to do on a short stint to Los Cabos, Mexico, but what he ended up with was some tourist scams, a fleeting romance, time in a Mexican jail, and a very interesting story to tell.

According to Kimmel, he had returned to Los Angeles, where he lives, after a trip to Indonesia. Upon returning, he found out he was $275 short of keeping his elite status with American Airlines. The airline allows members to pay a fee to keep their status, but Kimmel said American was asking for $1,875 in order to do this. Instead, he went on a mileage run, booking a $400 round-trip ticket to Mexico. In theory, this should have saved him a ton of money while also letting him have some fun.

But his story ends up taking a turn for the worse. Kimmel wrote in his thread that after getting a cheap hotel and rental car (only $35), and getting his dinner comped by a generous family at a restaurant, he decided to “hit some bars.”

After two beers, the bar manager gave him a bill for $300. According to Kimmel, this is a scam that is played on tourists to steal extra money from them. When Kimmel refused to pay for this fraudulent bill, the bar manager called the police, who Kimmel says threw him into jail. The police said they would only hold him for 30 minutes, but in reality, that time turned into an overnight stay.

When Kimmel woke up the next day, police were telling him he was bailed out by a “friend.” Kimmel said that his mystery friend was a Kenyan woman who said, “I heard what happened when you came in, so I figured you could use some help.” At this point, it is 2 p.m. and Kimmel’s flight is at 3:26 p.m. Since the Kenyan woman also had a flight to catch, they headed to the airport together.

At the airport, Kimmel had to pull some strings so he could get on a flight since he no longer had a passport, but he needed $35 to fill out an immigration form. He asked the Kenyan woman for one more favor and then she kissed him and told him everything would be OK. So far, these are the makings of an amazing movie that rivals "The Bourne Identity." Or, at the very least, an action-packed version of How I Met Your Mother.

The rest of Kimmel’s journey went by fast, and ultimately, he made the last flight out before the new year (which was the deadline for his mileage run). He eventually made it home and says he Venmoed his Kenyan crush the money she lent him.

Now, if you’re suspicious of Kimmel’s story, you’re not alone. There are plenty of disbelievers on Twitter who think a story this outrageous is only seen in movies.

However, One Mile at a Time did a little fact-checking and pointed to several pieces of evidence Kimmel posted that confirm his story is real, including a screenshot of a bank statement with the fraudulent charges, text messages with the mysterious Kenyan woman, and photos of the gate he would most likely come out of. So, if Kimmel’s story is actually a fake, he certainly did a lot of homework to give it credibility.

Since we have no real reason to doubt him, and we’re hopeless romantics at heart, we’re going to choose to believe this incredible story is true. Although, American Airlines’ response on Twitter was astoundingly light given the circumstances.

Kimmel wrote that he doesn’t want to discourage people from traveling to Cabo, saying that as a solo traveler, he was “an easy mark.” Travelers should be aware and safe, and sometimes it’s good to travel with a friend. In the end, it’s an incredible New Year’s Eve story.

Read Andrew Kimmel’s entire thread on Twitter and thank us later.