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New Jersey man wants to meet 10K social media friends

(CNN) – A young man is on a mission to make 10,000 new friends and he’s traveling across the United States to make it happen.

Rob Lawless is going coast to coast for his project “Rob’s 10K Friends.”

He meets with strangers for one hour and documents his journey on Instagram.

So far, he’s met nearly 3,000 strangers who are now friends.

In Hoboken, New Jersey, he met up with Kenny Spooner at a cafe.

He has no prepared questions, doesn’t take notes.

They just chat and get to know each other.

“It’s a lot of just sharing back and forth with no pressure and I think that puts people at ease. I think they come in more open,” said Lawless.

They meet for one hour and then Rob writes up a quick post for the project.

He meets four people a day, the first on at 10 a.m. and the last one at 4 p.m.

The oldest person was Eva at 98-years-old.

The youngest was 5-year-old Porter who has Down Syndrome.

“We just played on the playground for an hour. I talked more so to his mom kind of about what it’s like to have a child with Down syndrome, and how they were advocating for that,” said Lawless.

He started the whole thing nearly four years ago when he had a full-time job at a tech start-up.

But when he got laid off, he went full time with the project and makes a little money finding companies to sponsor him.

“Last year, in the summer, I had like 500 dollars to my name. And in those times I become more aggressive about seeking out partnerships,” said Lawless.

As more and more people learn about the project through social media, he’s getting messages every day from people interested in meeting up with him.

Dale Ryan met with Rob a couple months ago, and it’s opened her up.

“Where maybe I would be more reserved with talking to someone, I’ve reached out more and it’s opened my mind to make more connections,” said Ryan.

Rob says at this rate it will take about 10 more years to reach his goal of meeting 10,000 new people.


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