You can always depend on the kindness of strangers: An adage that rings especially true on Twitter. Two Amazing Race contestants were a hair’s edge away from being kicked off the show during the first episode this season, but thanks to the fast thinking and do-good nature of a few Twitter users, they’ll be able to continue their journey.
Brian Stelter of the New York Times gives us a behind-the-scene glimpse into the 19th season of The Amazing Race, and tells a tale of Twitter’s power to connect us in real-time – and influence mainstream media.
During the June taping of the show’s first episode, two contestants were just gearing up for a season-long trek… but one was about to get kicked off the show before it even began. Kaylani Paliotta accidentally left her passport at a gas station in Southern California, and offense that had seen a team dismissed from the show only two years before.
But this time around, Twitter was on the case.
While the camera crew following Paliotta and her teammate were notifying producers of the gaffe and recommending that they be kicked off the show at the next stop, Ryan Storms – a regular Twitter user, graphic designer and all around nice guy – swooped in as the knight in shining armor for the pair.
Storms had been at the gas station where the team stopped and asked for directions, and had noticed that Paliotta had forgotten her passport. He quickly tweeted a description of Paliotta and mentioned that he’d have to “look her up on Facebook” to get it back to her.
Barely before the tweet had hit the ground, so to speak, an anonymous “uber fan” of The Amazing Race spotted it, and updated Storms about the show. This fan also asked him if he could run the passport to LAX to save the unwitting contestants.
Meanwhile, Amazing Race producers in Taiwan were monitoring chatter surrounding the show, and saw the passport conversation unfold on Twitter. They quickly contacted producers in LA, telling them that the pair might be saved if their Twitter hero would step up and deliver the passport.
So Storms did what any altruistic, compassionate soul would do, and drove to the LAX airport to deliver the passport to Paliotta.
Twitter saved the day, and allows the pair to continue their race. Plus, as Stelter notes, it took center spotlight as a major plotpoint in Sunday’s season premier.
Image courtesy of CBS