A man called Thomas Cook has managed to wangle a free holiday in Paris after posting a message on the Thomas Cook Facebook page asking for a freebie.
However, it wasn't travel company Thomas Cook who treated him to the trip, but their low-cost competitor lowcostholidays.com
reports that Mr Cook posted his message back in November, asking Thomas Cook if they would offer him a free holiday to compensate for a lifetime of ridicule.
He wrote: "Seeing as I share the exact same name as your huge company, and because of this I have been ridiculed for as long as I can remember.
"I think it's only fair that you help compensate for this by giving me one of your lovely holidays."
He said that he deserved a weekend in Paris to "promote your brand by constantly keeping it in peoples minds every time they speak to me" (sic).
However the travel responded by saying that they are unable to give away free holidays and suggested that he should check their website for the best available prices.
Luckily for Mr Cook, lowcostholidays then stepped in, and offered to help.
Marketing representative Charlotte Hunt left a message on his Facebook page which read: "We completely sympathise with your suffering and if your name was lowcostholidays.com we would certainly have accepted your request to be sent away on a weekend to Paris. So in Thomas Cook's time of crisis we thought it was about time we stepped in to offer a helping hand to customers like yourself who have found themselves, as we like to say, 'Thomas Crooked'. So how about we send you on the weekend to Paris, in fact - why not make it a week for your and a friend! What do you say?"
So earlier this month, Thomas Cook took his trip to Paris, and posted a snap on the Reddit
website of him and his friend near to the Eiffel Tower.
Posting under the headline 'Benefits of sharing my name with a travel agent..' (sic), Mr Cook attracted more than 2,000 comments, with one person writing: "The genius of it. Now lowcostholidays.com can say that their packages are so good that even Thomas Cook doesn't use Thomas Cook."
Another added: "Smart marketing lowcostholidays, some people just don't understand the power of social media."
Even though they didn't offer him a holiday, Thomas Cook have since taken to their Facebook page to congratulate Mr Cook on his free trip.
The post read: "Just a quick one from the team to say we're really pleased our namesake Thomas Cook looks like he's had a great time on his free trip to Paris!!!
"We'd love to have helped him out (along with all the other Thomas Cook's who write to us!), but we've love to help out ALL of our other loyal customers too... so unfortunately we can't give freebies to people who just happen to have fantastic names!"
Click on the image below for some alternative things to see and do in Paris...
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- Buy a book or three
This world-famous bookshop,<a href="http://www.shakespeareandcompany.com/" target="_blank"> Shakespeare and Company </a>(Rue de la Bûcherie, Metro: Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame) has provided a bed to some 50,000 penniless authors since it opened in 1951 – the idea being that writers who worked in the shop got to live there, too. The store, which predominantly sells books in English, has become something of an institution, with regular literary events and a constant stream of visitors keen to pick up a new read in order to come away with a bag bearing the shop's name.</p>
- Tickle your tastebuds at Berthillon
If you enjoy an ice cream in Paris, you can guarantee it'll be a Berthillon – a Parisian ice cream manufacturer that started up in 1954. Check out the main store on Rue Saint Louis en l'ile (Metro: Ponte Marie) for a bevy of unusual flavours, including granny apple, prune and rhubarb. Prepare to queue down the road for your cone but, rest assured, it'll be worth it.</p>
- Have lunch in a Parisian mansion
You don't get a much more lavish setting for lunch than a 19th-century Parisian mansion. The café at the <a href="http://www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/en/jacquemart/496-the_jacquemart_andre_cafe_/www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/en/jacquemart/496-the_jacquemart_andre_cafe_/" target="_blank">Jacquemart-André</a> museum (Boulevard Haussman, Metro: Miromesnil) – which is well worth a visit in itself for its impressive art collection – is adorned with antique paintings and tapestries. A fascinating collection of figures looks down at you from the ceiling painted by 18th-century Italian artist, Tiepolo. The set lunch menu comes in at a reasonable €16.50.</p>
- Scare yourself silly at the Catacombs
Done the streets of Paris? Then why not have a look what's under them? The <a href="http://www.catacombes-de-paris.fr/english.htm" target="_blank">Paris Catacombs </a>(Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Metro: Denfert-Rochereau) are lined with bones and skulls from The Cemetery of Innocent, which had to be closed because it was causing disease in the city at the end of the 18th century. Housing the remains of close to six million Parisians, it's an eerie but ultimately fascinating sight.</p>
- Indulge yourself with Chanel
Fashion-lovers, history-buffs and shopping queens should all go on pilgrimage to the Chanel Store on Rue Cambon (Metro: Madeleine) where the iconic brand began. In 1910 Coco Chanel opened her first shop – a hat store – here, and had her private apartment on the second floor. Fancy buying something but can't afford to spend thousands? Then come away with a bottle of exclusive 31 Rue Cambon perfume to remember your visit.</p>
- Hunt for a bargain in Les Puces de Paris
Forget the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Dedicated shoppers should head to the sprawling <a href="http://www.parispuces.com/en/Default.asp]" target="_blank">Les Puces</a> flea market on the edge of Paris (Saint Ouen, Metro: Porte de Clignancourt). The market has built up since the 19th century and today, in the maze of tiny, intertwining streets, you'll find over 2,000 stalls creaking with vintage fashion, furniture, crockery, books, and just about everything in between. Be sure to practice your haggling <em>en Français </em>before you go!</p>
- See the Statue of Liberty
Did you know that New York's Statue of Liberty was actually designed by a Parisian, Frédéric Bartholdi, and was given as a gift to America by the French? So it's perhaps no surprise that Paris has it's own lesser-known version (Île aux Cygnes, Metro: Bir-Hakeim). It's just 37 feet, nine inches, to the New York version's 305 feet. But it makes for a wonderfully quirky and incongruent site, with the Eiffel Tower set behind it.</p>
- Fall in love with le mur des je t'aime
Escape the obvious romantic hotspots in the City of Love and visit <a href="http://www.lesjetaime.com/english/index.html" target="_blank">le mur des je t'aime </a>– the I love you wall (Place des Abbesses, Metro: Abbesses). Across 612 enamelled tiles you'll find 'I love you' written in hundreds of different languages. Search for those you can understand or just marvel at this piece of large-scale modern art.</p>
- Be inpired by Sainte-Chapelle
You're spoilt for choice when it comes to churches in Paris, with the likes of Notre Dame and Sacré-Cœur. But <a href="http://sainte-chapelle.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/" target="_blank">Sainte-Chapelle</a> (Boulevard du Palais, Metro – Cité) easily rivals them in the beauty stakes, with three walls of near floor-to-ceiling stained glass. Inside the gothic masterpiece, the air dances with colours as the light catches the multicoloured glass – guaranteed to have you captivated.</p>
- Make for the Musee Rodin
If you've ticked off the Centre Pomidou and the Louvre but want an art fix, head to the <a href="http://www.musee-rodin.fr/welcome.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Rodin Museum</a> (Rue de Varenne, Metro: Varenne). It displays the work of French artist Auguste Rodin, made famous by his sculptures The Thinker and The Kiss. Set in a picture-perfect mansion and with vast gardens, it's a lovely place to amble away an afternoon. And it's a welcome escape from the madding crowds at the more famous Parisian art destinations.</p>