Was the Dad Who Left His Son in the Hot Car Manufacturing Spend?

I wrote a post about how strange and creepy it was to me, seeing a horrible tragedy on the news and then reading that one of the things the police have learned is that the man facing charges for the death of a child had been strategizing to rack up frequent flyer miles.

And I shared other glimpses of broader exposure to the hobby that the world gets, both in the broader media and that I’ve seen personally.

Clearly it touched a nerve, because the story itself is a horrifying one, and it’s just not possible for most people to reflect on something small as they reflect on something shocking.

Since it wasn’t my intention to offend, just to share something personal (I should know better than to do that on the internet), I’ve gone ahead and removed that discussion.

This was the relevant piece of the story that I described as ‘just creepy’:

Harris told police he recently took over the finances for the family. “According to Harris, he has acquired some credit card debt, around $4,000 in order to acquire air line miles. Harris currently has outstanding student loans and car loans, for him and his wife.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. 4k in debt to get airline miles? My first thought is that he purchased gift cards and hadn’t paid them back yet. Maybe he hadn’t yet deposited them into his Bluebird account so he could pay his bill? Horrible, I know. But how else would he have 4k in debt from trying to accrue miles? In all seriousness, this is a horrible tragedy and I can’t imagine being responsible for one of my children’s own passing.

  2. This is a post you didn’t have to write. Should not have written. It won’t bring a dead child back and it won’t help the prosecution make their case. It’s unnecessary given the severity of the event and the sadness. Perhaps there is a “points” angle to the story, but it’s thin. Again, a child is dead. And the question at the end, tacky.

  3. +1 Mike H

    My thoughts exactly. Tacky and insensitive. Sickening the levity with which this post was written.

  4. More sickening is the fact that someone with multiple BILLIONS of dollars would waste his time collecting miles, using award tickets, and letting them interfere with business to boot. A total cheap pos in my opinion. The hollywood types too. Total cheap garbage.

  5. Ugh – have to agree with the above. Love your posts, but I’m not sure where you’re going with this one. It’s either a senseless tragedy or an incomprehensible act of cruelty. Neither of which is suitable for levity.

  6. So it is a Saturday and you have nothing to write about and you decide to write the most unnecessary post ever. Please learn something from Facebook and DELETE this post as it never existed.

  7. Oh dear Gary. Clearly you are not a parent and may never be. A child’s death is the WORST thing I could ever imagine. Whether severe negligence is in play it not, it’s a tragedy for all those involved. Who friggin cares about any stupid reference to miles, credit cards, gift cards or anything other than the pure tragedy of a life snuffed out way too soon, and the agony of those who loved him. Sorry, I don’t like the haters on this site…. But please you need to stick to intelligent writing and take a long hard look at your pathetic attempts. This is the worst.

  8. @jack – WhatsApp founder wasn’t a billionaire when he was trying to close that deal, and in cash terms…stock was by far the biggest part. He’s a very wealthy man now, but frugality dies hard.

    As for this post. yeah, things are too raw to be discussing the coincidence here. Especially trying to put an accused murderer in context with ‘celebrities.’ that’s what’s touching a nerve.

  9. Gary, I always found this site helpful. But lately, the link bait you’ve been publishing is utterly disgusting. I mean really? You’re making light of the case of that murdered child just so you have a post where you can link out your award booking service? I don’t think you would have missed out on much revenue if you had second-guessed clicking “submit” and instead discarding this post. You’ve got wide readership already, and with great power comes great responsibility. For shame man, for shame.

  10. Are you even reading what Gary wrote, or are you just reacting to the broader story with some sort of unsophisticated mood affiliation?

    Gary calls this creepy, talks about there being bad people out there, and that it’s strange when big news stories cross this little hobby of ours.

    I read this as a genuine reflection from the heart about being creeped out by something so gruesome having a frequent flyer angle to it. That’s a little chilling, isn’t it?

    Everyone giving him a hard time for sharing that with us need to think hard about their knee jerk reactions, people telling him to think before posting need to think long and hard about thinking before commenting. ACTUALLY READ THE POST AND THINK, PEOPLE!!!

  11. +1 @What Planet Are You People On?!

    I’m a mom, this is an absolutely insane story, and it’s so weird that the guy was collecting miles and points.

    I appreciate the story, and certainly don’t mind that Gary posted it.

  12. I, too, find it interesting that this guy war collecting miles n points. I don’t think mentioning that is making light of the situation.

  13. I have to defend Gary as well here too. He is pointing out an angle on a VERY widely publicized story that is directly relevant to the subject matter of this website. If the FFer lifestyle or MSing or whatever gets dragged into the spotlight somehow and scrutinized then there could of course be relevant implications. It happens all the time where event A brings up topic B and then topic B takes on a life of its own and is dug apart by the media or court of public opinion. So this is applicable here and not at all off topic.

  14. @What Planet Are You People On? – +1! What the hell is wrong with some of the commenters here?!

    @Andy Shuman – +1 here as well.

  15. Might’ve had nothing to do with gift cards. Sounds like he just racked up a $4k credit-card balance, perhaps trying to meet minimum-spend for a new card, or perhaps just trying to earn the last 4k miles necessary for an award. Whatever his motive, there’s no connection between trying to earn miles and plotting to kill a child by leaving him in a superheated car.

  16. I missed the original post.. but according to one commenter you included a link to your award booking service in the post? What, couldn’t figure out the angle for a Chase affiliate link? Absolutely disgusting indeed. You should be ashamed of yourself. Delete this whole post and quit while you’re behind.

  17. @afterbang i referenced working with some folks through my award booking service with certain stories and brushes with fame, it was an aside, and simply link ‘award booking service’ as i always do to the website for the service i offer. I don’t think anyone can claim i even frequently mention that offering in posts here. but since the post seemed to bother some folks, i removed most of it with enough context for what it was about. Now, if you want to talk about bad taste, I could quote some of the 22 other comments you’ve made… 😉

  18. Gary,

    Don’t sweat the haters, the internet is full of them.

    Perhaps their feigned outrage at your post will be the last straw and they’ll stop reading and commenting!

  19. I read the original post and it was tasteless. You really ought to be embarrassed. Sometimes, Mr. Leff, you ought to take a moment and consider whether your posts are offering something to your readers or whether you are simply a filthy credit card shilling whore.

    (Personally, I vote whore. But that’s me.)

  20. @Dadcore there was nothing about credit cards in the original post. But thanks for your opinion, you know what they say about those!

  21. Oh, that’s some pretty weak sauce there, Mr. Gary Leff. Three of the subsequent seven posts were about credit cards, which is fine, because that’s your business, but let’s not pretend we’re something we’re not, eh? I mean, I know you favor red shirts with black sport coats, so maybe you’re pretending you’re a color blind funeral director instead of a the Regional Director of Chase Sapphire Preferred Whoredom, I really don’t know, I’m just spitballing here. But that fact is, writing about some poor dead toddler in reference to manufactured spend was very effective, if pretty gross, click bait, and you should just own up to it, especially considering you dress like a mortician who lives with his mom. Connect the dots, man. Connect the dots.

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