The Lincoln Tunnel Motel has become more popular than ever thanks to TikTok, but it’s not for the reasons you might think.
It isn’t known for it’s glamorous, expensive rooms — quite the opposite, actually. At only $75 a night, this quaint, family-owned motel is making headlines for their generosity and quick-witted co-owner, Brian Acosta Arya.
Decades ago, Brian’s dad bought the motel after immigrating from India. That meant that, growing up, Brian was taught to know all about the ins and outs of running the place, and that included “letting people off the hook” if they weren’t able to pay for their stay.
“To turn your head away from unhoused people or people who are out in the street is the opposite of what we should be doing,” Brian said.
Although the 34-year-old is working toward his dream of becoming an actor, in the meantime, he also continues to work toward making the Lincoln Tunnel Motel a place anyone and everyone feels welcome.
When he’s not running the hotel or pursuing his acting career, Brian loves creating content about his life at the hotel on TikTok. He started in 2019 as a fun way to pass the time, especially during overnight shifts, but it’s become so much more than that. Once he went viral, he was able to use his channel to raise awareness of his hotel. Something that, in turn, has allowed him to help even more people.
During the height of the pandemic, he was able to let his then 480,000 followers know that his 41-room hotel was available for anyone who needed a place to stay, including for quarantine purposes. To make this more known, he started the #FreeRoomForU program on TikTok.
Since then, nearly 100 people have been given a place to stay at absolutely no cost to them.
“Sometimes they come just to kind of get away from really bad situations,” Brian said. “Maybe a domestic situation and kind of hiding from that person. And those you can kind of spot. I’m empathetic to people who really are honest with me, telling me their situation. I try to help them out the best I can.”
Despite Brian and his dad’s generosity, the two of them are far from rich themselves. But that doesn’t stop them from doing everything they can, including using their own money.
Thankfully, though, with nearly 1 million followers on TikTok, Brian and his dad have seen an outpouring of love and generosity shown right back at them. They’ve received tons of donated food, toiletries, clothes, and other items that people can find on their Amazon wishlist. These items are available for any guest who needs them.
“Do you know how valuable a clear toiletry bag is to someone out on the street that needs something to put their IDs and their documents in?” he said. “It’s just so useful for important papers you don’t want to get caught in the rain. We give those out like crazy.”
Running a hotel that strives to help others no matter comes with its challenges, but Brian wouldn’t change the way they operate for anything.
“What we’re doing here and what we’ve always done at the Lincoln Tunnel Motel is help people,” Brian said.
Don’t forget to share this article with a friend to celebrate Brian’s generosity.
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