A rabid Canadian hockey fan trapped in Chiang Mai without money to fly home got an assist from teammates back home to raise the funds his family needs to fly home.
Stu Elmes, who goes by @TheDiscoStu on Twitter, his British wife, their 2-year-old daughter and two cats have been living in Chiang Mai full-time since 2016 and off-and-on since 2010, have been unable to go back to Vancouver after Hayley Elmes’ Thai employer didn’t pay her for four months.
They want to return to appeal for approval of her Canadian permanent residency.
While she has worked at home, Stu Elmes has been ranting about the Vancouver Canucks on Twitter. He has gained friends and foes as a result.
“Canuck lover, bastard, internet fiend. If you like bland takes, don’t follow me,” the polarizing, passionate fan’s profile reads.
While no one is truly “stuck” or “stranded” in Thailand anymore – flights are leaving every day and some embassies are even offering loans for repatriation flights – the Elmes’ problems have been financial.
With no income and savings dwindling, the Canadians can’t risk putting out hundreds of thousands of baht on airline tickets only to have the flight canceled and refunds delayed for 60 days.
Frustrated, Elmes tweeted Canucks hockey team owner Francesco Aquilini in jest, suggesting that the boss send his private jet to bring them home. Aquilini didn’t answer, but fellow Canucks fans did.
Going by “Burnt Reynolds”, Twitter user @unsknnybop5started a GoFundMe page called “Bring DiscoStu Home” with the modest goal of raising US$7,500 for the air tickets. It’s now exceeded its goal.
Elmes has never met @unsknnybop5 but was floored by the compassion from his fellow hockey fan. But the good-hearted outpouring isn’t going to Elmes’ style.
“Now that I know how much support I have, I’ll be a bigger asshole than ever,” Disco Stu tweeted this morning. “You can take that to the bank.”
A version of this story first appeared in the Bangkok Herald.