Gente de NAHJ: A 100-mile drive to a Tinder date leads to a night alone in a desert town

Rueben James plays slots in the casino at Caesar’s Palace at the NABJ-NAHJ Convention and Career Fair in Las Vegas, Nev., on Tuesday, August 02, 2022. TANYA VELASQUEZ/THE LATINO REPORTER

Rueben James drove 100-miles to meet with a Tinder match. He didn’t make it to the date in time. But the journey was even better.

James is a student at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, who has been working in the United States and just landed a new internship.

He had some free time in between school and work, so he decided to go on a solo trip.

“I just had a little bit of money from my last internship,” he said. “And all of a sudden I had like zero work to do.”

Sitting on Saturday at the Caesars Palace casino in Las Vegas, James said that by the time he hits the road to head home, he will only have been in the Las Vegas for one hour.

He’s done it before.

On Friday night, James made a similar pit stop in Arizona.

“It was a Tinder match in the middle of nowhere, and it was 100 miles away,” James said. I had nothing to do that night, so I was like Sure, I’ll do it.

But James made it to Arizona late and his match no longer wanted to see him.

“I reached there so late that she was like Dude, I am not meeting this stranger guy at like 11 pm,’ so I was like, ‘Where should I go next?” he said. “But turns out the place was Sedona, Arizona, which is now one of my favorite places.”

He spent the night in his car.

But don’t feel too bad for him.

“It was so worth it because I got to this place where it was super dark and I got to look at some nice stars,” he said. “A lot of my friends think I am nuts; my parents are so worried. They’re like ‘Where the hell are you?

Still, the road is calling.

“I am going straight to Death Valley. Probably spend the night stargazing again, maybe get some pictures of the stars,” he said. “Going to wake up tomorrow, look around Death Valley, but then I need to do an eight-hour drive back to San Francisco, so I can settle in before I start my new job.”

Tanya Velazquez is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin double majoring in journalism and Latin American studies. She’s currently interning at the Voces Oral History Center, working to preserve Latino history in the U.S. Reach her at tvv96 [at] utexas [dot] edu and on Twitter at @TanyaVelazquez_.

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