Firestone Don’t Sell Your Baby photo contest grand prize winner thank you video

This February, I found myself in the cab of a truck moving my entire life and all that I’ve known from Seattle to Miami. There are a lot of stories from that trip, but one that I’m excited to share today is the one about vehicle trouble.

Our route was a 4,100 mile journey from Seattle to New Jersey where we’d pick up his 6-year old 110-pound black lab mix and rest a day or two, then straight down to Miami where our new home, life, and job awaited us. We had 9 days to make it happen. In the dead of winter.

One the 1st day, we drove through the night stopping to sleep for a few hours in at a truck stop in Missoula, MT. We only had enough budgeted for gas, food, and caffeine, so we slept in the cab of the truck with warm, fuzzy blankets in the front seats. It was the “wake up and drive” moment of our relationship. We woke up and immediately started barreling down I-90, trying to stay ahead of a storm that was about to hit the mid-west exactly the few days we were scheduled to drive through.

About an hour down I-90, the left wheel bearing starting going out. Not good. Searching quickly on my smartphone, I located and contacted a Firestone that would fit us in on a Sunday at the last minute. The shop was back in Missoula.

On the hour-drive back to the small city, I remembering whispering “thank you God” as we hobbled into the parking lot as the first flurries of the blizzard started blowing in. We told the Missoula Firestone team the journey we were on, and they set to work on the truck immediately even though they were already slammed. They went above and beyond for us, so as we waited, I tweeted to @FirestoneAuto headquarters just what an amazing team they had there. To my surprise, I quickly received a Tweet back thanking me for being a customer and encouraging me to enter their photo contest to win a free set of tires and auto care gift certificate.

Photo contest? Did they just say the words “photo contest” to a photographer who was sitting in the passenger seat of a 4,100 road-trip with not a lot to do but communicate through online social media? On it! I snapped a quick shot of the truck in front of the Firestone with my iPhone 5s, and  just as they were getting us back on the road, had a story and submitted it into the contest.

Doing my best at making this journey and photo contest my new life goal – at least for the next 8 days – I hit social media land hard. I created a blog post, linked the contest on my personal Facebook profile and Business Page, Tweeted it on Twitter, Shared it on Instagram, personal and business Google+ profiles, and even included it on my Pinterest Road Trip Moving board.

People around the world loved the story of our journey and the picture of the truck in the snow and votes quickly started coming in. People were voting like crazy from every social platform I had engaged. They entered from every computer in their house every single day. People started having contests with each other who was going to vote for my photo more times in the day!

The support and engagement left me humbled, and very grateful, because when we got to Miami, I was notified that we were the grand prize winners of the contest!

Here is a video I put together for everyone giving my personal story from the road, and my personal heartfelt thanks to all of those who supported me and voted.



Original Submission Photo and Story:


Photography details for this shoot are below.
To see all the equipment I use on set, visit my Gear List.

Still & Video shot on:
Apple iPhone 5s 64GB (Gold)

Tripod for recording while driving:
MilliMount iPhone holder & suction cup tripod

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