‘Brian the Motel Guy’ in North Bergen, NJ has 15 million TikTok views
Ten years ago, Brian Acosta Arya wanted to avoid the family motel business to become an actor. Ten years later, Brian is not only back in the motel business but his funny TikTok videos made with eccentric motel guests have generated 15 million views.
He's also using his motel to help those in need with free rooms. It's a movement he hopes will "combat the craziness that's been happening"
It's an amazing, moving story that Brian, my guest on New Jersey 101.5 tells. You can listen on-demand starting at 1:02:00
Tell us your story
Well, I trained to be an actor, straight out of high school into college, here in New Jersey, of course. I grew up in a motel so getting into the motel business didn't exactly align with what I wanted to do. It wasn't the easiest job growing up in a motel, so the idea of owning one wasn't my thing.
But my dad was supportive, behind me 100% to go and do something that I like and want to do and do it for a career.
I went to LA for a year, and it wasn't for me. So I came back, and my dad just welcomed me back and gave me the shift at the Lincoln Tunnel Motel and I've been there ever since.
You got creative, though. You started doing TikTok videos. How did that all come about?
I lucked out working there. For like seven to eights years I just was able to take all the stories and put them in the back of my mind and think I'm going to tell these one day.
When TikTok came out and it was such an easy format for me to pick up. I had a camera in my pocket the whole time. I could just start filming myself talking or re-enacting some of the crazier things that happened. And you know just putting that out there.
Steven the Maid, he was one of our guests there, one of the more eccentric people, but a very real person from the New York/New Jersey area. He joins me on my escapades sometimes. So since TikTok came out, I've been able to just be creative working that night shift.
What is your favorite TikTok you have made?
With Steven, people says he looks like Jim Jones if you remember the story. I turned that on its head and said what if Jim Jones was alive and he lives at my motel and the only reason he can is if he doesn't cause any trouble with his old ways, and we still give him a second chance, which really speaks to the heart of the whole account and what we kind of do to try to help the community.
What is the most heartwarming story?
This happened recently. If you need a place to stay for the night, we can talk about it and help you out, either for a discounted rate or for free sometimes.
Since this has gotten out across the world, I had a girl drive from Michigan to the motel. She just needed to get out of her house, she was having problems with her dad and she comes to the motel, she hears about the message that we try to help people. She stays for a few days and then I finally ask her, What's going on? Because that's what I can do at this motel, that's what makes us different than a chain motel.
These Mom and Pop side of the highway independent motels we are service first, we don't have a spa, but I can definitely reach out from behind that front desk and ask if you're okay.
So many other people wanted to help. How moved were you when you see the results of your idea to help people?
I'm tremendously moved but I think this is the kind of movement perhaps in the country or in this world to kind of combat the craziness that's been happening, all of this end-of-the-world scenario that's being painted especially with the pandemic we are still in.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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