Stranded Canadian family saved by hockey fans

A Canadian family stuck in Chiang Mai over the pandemic receive love from Canadian hockey players.

By | Mon 20 Jul 2020

Stu Elmes is loud. He is also a passionate Canadian Twitter personality who mostly comments on the Vancouver Canucks Hockey team. So, when word got out that he and his young family needed help getting out of Thailand, his fellow Canucks fans heard him loud and clear.

Stu, his wife Hayley and 2-year-old daughter have been living and working in Chiang Mai, Thailand since 2016. Between working and raising a family, Stu has become an outspoken Twitter supporter of his local Canadian hockey team, the Canucks.

With his @TheDiscoStu Twitter description reading “Canuck lover, bastard, internet fiend. If you like bland takes, don’t follow me.” Stu managed to grow a following of other passionate Canucks hockey fans.

But, when the COVID epidemic hit, things got bad for the expat hockey fan and his family. His wife Hayley’s Thai employer didn’t pay her for four months. And, along with the rest of the world, travel became next to impossible; They needed help. Flights became outrageously expensive and their financial situation was less than ideal.

One of Stu’s Canuck Twitter followers took notice.

Fellow Canucks fan and Twitter user @unsknnybop5, or ‘Burnt Reynolds’ as he’s known, started a GoFundMe named ‘Bring DiscoStu Home’. The $7,500USD goal was to get Stu and his family back to Canada.

More than 8,000USD was raised in less than two days.

“No words, all love” @TheDiscoStu Tweeted on July 16. Stu’s ranting Tweets had been silenced by the compassion and support of his fellow Canuck fans.

When asked about his connection to ‘Burnt Reynolds’ Stu wrote, “Never met the dude. We just both like the same hockey team. LOL.” Stu was overjoyed.

But, with so much love and generosity going their way in such unstable times, Stu and his family did some thinking. And, after careful consideration, the Elmes family decided not to take the money.

“We returned every single penny donated to us to the people who donated it.” Stu said. “When we realised how hard other people have it right now, we knew we couldn’t accept the money. We just couldn’t. It would be wrong. We LOVE the support, but there are so many who need/deserve it more than we do. It was a family decision, and we stand by it. We’ll figure it out.”

While all donations were returned, Stu and his family remain thankful and optimistic. “Hopefully, things will open up. We have a good friend who’s provided us a place to stay for the time being. We will make it work”, said Elmes enthusiastically.

Stu and his family will remain in Chiang Mai until flights cheapen and international travel frees up more. In the meantime, you can keep up with the boisterous Canucks fan on Twitter @TheDiscoStu.