New Jersey motel's generosity leads to social media fame

Kemberly Richardson Image
Friday, January 7, 2022
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Kemberly Richardson has more on the no-nonsense motel in New Jersey that has garnered some unexpected social media fame for offering people down on their luck a free place to stay.

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (WABC) -- A no-nonsense motel in New Jersey has garnered some unexpected social media fame for being a rather special place for those who don't have a home.

"I was essentially born into the motel business," Brian Arya said.

And now more than 824,000 people on TikTok are following daily life at one of Arya's properties, the Lincoln Tunnel Motel in North Bergen.

With just 41 rooms, each $75 a night, it is not luxurious, but to many people, it is something far more important.

"What we've been doing in this community is changing attitudes, changing viewpoints, and changing perspectives. I think that's what I'm supposed to be doing this whole time," Arya said.

Arya's family has been in the motel business for decades and as a child, he remembers growing up actually living in one of their properties in Ridgefield.

"I was always jealous of my friends I went to public school with who lived in nice white picket fence," Arya said.

For some time, Arya fought the idea of going into this industry.

"Instead of going down the hospitality route and getting a degree in that, I went into the theater," Arya said.

He moved to Los Angeles, but that didn't work out and in 2011 he returned home and partnered with his father.

"My father, unbeknownst to me, was always known as the guy who would help people if they couldn't afford rent, my dad would cut them some slack," Arya said.

Which got Brian thinking, so he joined TikTok and a single post changed everything.

"If they are in the area and they need a free room for the night, we are willing to give that," Arya said.

The response was overwhelming from both those in need and others offering support.

One anonymous donor dropped off care packages.

Now retired, Brian's nearly 90-year-old dad is proud he's now carrying the family torch.

People they just want to know, especially in these times, that people are still helping people and still being selfless and that's a beautiful thing," Arya said.

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