A Hug From Taylor Swift

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Lance Hand > Junior > English and Theological Studies > Regent University 
Michael Wekall and Ryan Leander probably never imagined that with one single yet simple goal, they would make such an impact on their own lives as well as the lives of many others. For these two ordinary Auburn University students, the objective was simple: obtain a hug from country singing superstar, Taylor Swift. With that objective as their motivation, they created a website, ahugfromtaylorswift.com, and waited. Surprisingly enough, Taylor responded with the first of three challenges which began a journey that would have more of an impact than either one of the two friends probably ever could have imagined.



“These dudes are crazy! They will do whatever it takes to get that one hug from Taylor Swift,” said Katelyn Sapp, a freshman at South Georgia College. There is no doubt that these guys were determined and didn’t mind stepping outside of the box to get the attention of Taylor. With each proposal that was presented, Michael and Ryan took each challenge to the next level. When asked to help an old lady across the street, the two friends made the challenge public which led to multiple video submissions of people helping old ladies across the street. Taylor was obviously blown away by Michael and Ryan’s efforts and responded with a second challenge.

For the second challenge, Taylor charged Michael and Ryan to use the number 13, her favorite number, in a creative way. The two fans responded with 13 tasks using the number 13, each one bigger than the next. They gave 13 roses to the same lady they helped across the street, paid for $13 worth of gas for a stranger, and picked up trash at a store called Taylor parts which was on none other than 13th street. However, the most touching task they performed was helping a little boy meet his favorite baseball player, the Auburn Tiger’s #13.

Finally, after once more being amazed by the efforts of Michael and Ryan and numerous fans, Taylor asked them to assemble the largest group of people ever gathered to sing, “You Belong to Me,” in the 350 seat Auburn Hotel auditorium. If that wasn’t enough, they also had a time limit of 2 hours. Undaunted by such a large task, Michael and Ryan kicked things into high gear and rallied enough people to pack the auditorium. After getting the crowd to sing the song, Taylor walks on stage causing an eruption of screams and cheers from the crowd and wraped her arms around Michael and Ryan. Their mission had been accomplished. To top it all off, Taylor called out her band and performed for the students of Auburn University.

"The fact that Taylor Swift responded to the website shows something about her character,” said Anna Lowther, a junior at Valdosta State University. “It’s refreshing to see that some stars truly have a good heart and don’t mind going out of their way to bring a smile (or in this case, a hug) to others." Undeniably, Taylor Swift showed that she cares about the fans. However, the true stars of this story are Michael and Ryan. They took a simple goal and not only worked until they saw it happen, but brought others along for the ride as well. Their story proves that it is possible to see one’s goals attained, all the while helping others in the process.



College Magazine Staff

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