TikTokers Obsessed With This New Jersey Motel Giving Rooms To Those In Need: “Anyone Can Help Someone”
When Brian Acosta Arya started working at the Lincoln Tunnel Motel, he thought it would just be a temporary thing.
The motel in North Bergen, NJ, was the family business. Arya’s father opened it years ago, after immigrating to the United States from India.
It was about ten years ago. At the time, Arya had no idea he would make a living from her father’s business. He also could never have guessed that the motel – and its amazing, caring philosophy – would become a viral sensation.
But here is Arya, 10 years later, with nearly 500,000 followers watching him spend his days at the motel. His TikTok page, @ltmotel, shares countless details about the location – from night shifts to being able to film TV shows on the property chasing after guests who left their passports in their rooms.
There’s one more thing that makes the Lincoln Tunnel Motel special, however. This is one of the reasons why Arya has so many followers supporting him, and why he has been highlighted by news outlets like PBS.
Arya, more than anything, has gained a reputation for helping those in need. Whether it’s extending stays, offering discounts, letting customers in without ID or even giving away rooms for free, he’s always found a way to use his business for good. This mentality, Arya told In The Know, began years ago, when her father was in charge.
“My dad has always been known for this,” he said. “He was always ready to give people a break, and I was just my dad’s son.”
Thanks to TikTok, however, this reputation has taken on a whole new life. Arya started her page in 2019, primarily as a creative outlet and a way to enjoy her endless hours at work. Then something strange happened.
On a whim, Arya decided to post a message telling users that he would give anyone a free room – all they had to do was follow his page. He had followers, but he also received countless messages.
Many of these DMs, Arya said, came from young people who had left their homes. Some lived in cars or just on the streets.
“I got the idea that maybe it was a seizure that nobody talks about, but I’m reading on [it] all the time, ”Arya said.
Arya is right to call it a crisis. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, approximately 4.2 million youth and young adults are homeless each year. Arya decided that the Lincoln Tunnel Motel could be a safe space for some of them.
“And I realized that our place – what I put there – was a place where you can go and no one judges who you are,” he told In The Know. “And it’s so important when you’re that age.”
Thanks to the motel’s growing presence on TikTok, Arya was able to make his philosophy known. When asked to describe what makes his business special, he only gave one word: independent. For him, that means his motel is free to decide who he offers rooms to – and how those rooms might impact their lives.
“I’m here now,” Arya said. “I’m not going anywhere.”
In many ways, the job has done the same for Arya. When he started working at the Lincoln Tunnel, he was a young bachelor trying to pursue an acting career. Today he’s a family man – with a wife and four children – and a career that offers both a creative outlet and a way to genuinely help those in need.
“It’s a sense of purpose,” he said. “I mean, we all want that from our jobs.”
If you would like to help the Lincoln Tunnel Motel, you can do so by donating to its #FreeRoomForU initiative, which helps provide free rooms to homeless people. You can also provide supplies through Arya’s Amazon Wish List.
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