Four Flyers will travel Down Under after finding two plane tickets to Australia hidden in the Marriott parking lot by “The Ellen Show” on Thursday, March 7.
On March 6, The Ellen Show tweeted: “It’s official! Tomorrow I’m hiding a ticket to Australia somewhere in Dayton, Ohio! Get ready, Dayton. #EllensHideandSeek.”
Junior pre-medicine major Bryan Demyan, a self-proclaimed Ellen “superfan,” said he saw DeGeneres promoting the contest on Twitter and knew he and his roommates had to participate.
Tim Carroll, a junior English and education major, said that Demyan had texted him Wednesday night and asked him to skip his classes the following day. Carroll admitted he was surprised by his “extremely studious” roommate’s request.
“I was like, ‘What in the world is Bryan Demyan asking me to do?’” Carroll said. “Bryan told us about the contest and we knew we had to do it. I mean, I got the guy Ellen underwear for his 21st birthday.”
To be successful in the ticket search, the roommates said they went out into Dayton to stake out possible places the tickets could be hiding.
“We went out at like 11 p.m. Wednesday night, as our roommate Jon was joining the team, and decided to scope out historical places, hotels and even license plates,” said Nate Hauge, a junior economics and finance double major. “We considered places like Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and even UD, but then realized those probably wouldn’t be possibilities.”
Carroll said their extensive preparations “left no stone unturned.”
As the team came closer to finding the tickets, Carroll said his sister, freshman intervention specialist major Mary Kate Carroll, was essential to their success.
Using Google maps and YouTube comments, Carroll said his sister was able to help them find the tickets.
While they were waiting for clues on Thursday morning, the team watched a live-stream webcam via YouTube that hinted to the tickets’ location.
After identifying the location, Hauge said it took them seven minutes to reach the Dayton Marriott parking lot at 1414 S. Patterson Blvd.
“If we had hit one more red light, I don’t think we would have made it,” Hauge said.
While driving to the parking lot, Jon Thompson said “You Found Me” by the Fray came on the radio and they knew it was meant to be.
As they sprinted to the parking lot, Thompson, a junior accounting and finance double major, said they found the camera before they found the actual tickets.
“I was looking around everywhere and I looked at a license plate and thought, ‘Wait that’s not a license plate!’ Thompson said. “I was just so happy we actually found them.”
While only two tickets were provided, the roommates said they agreed they would split the cost for the remaining tickets.
Hauge said they will take the trip week-long trip to either Sydney or Melbourne before November.
Carroll said he would have likely chosen Australia anyways had he been given the option.
“Several of us had talked about either backpacking through Europe or traveling to Australia, so it actually works out pretty well,” Carroll said. “I also would have been happy just seeing the show in LA or New York.”
The roommates said they could not be more thankful for the opportunity to travel to Australia, let alone for free.
“We want to give a shout out to Ellen for giving us such an awesome trip,” Carroll said. “She also got us a lot of followers on Twitter, which is pretty cool, too.”
“The fact that we actually won the tickets hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Demyan said. “This really is an amazingly realistic cool dream and I just hope I don’t wake up.”