Drew’s name may be fake for privacy reasons, but his incredible story is not. After a quarrel with his mother, Emma, the 12-year-old boy decided it was time to do something drastic, and a vacation to the family’s favorite holiday destination, Bali, seemed like just what the doctor ordered. Only this time, he would go all by himself and experience the freedom of being alone in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, at his parents’ expense. For that, he needed his mother’s credit cards and a way to board a plane without having to answer too many questions. Sounds like a tall order, but this kid had it all figured out.
Coming up with a plan to fly off to Bali doesn’t sound like something your average 12-year-old could pull off, but then again, Drew doesn’t sound like an average 12-year-old. Using his smartphone to do some research, this clever little boy figured out that he didn’t need to be accompanied by an adult to board an aeroplane to Bali. Several Australian airlines only required a signed letter from his parents, a valid passport and his student ID. So he somehow tricked his grandmother into giving him his passport, and after borrowing the family credit cards, he grabbed his backpack and told everyone he was going to school.
Only he took a train to the airport instead, where he had already booked a flight to Perth. From there he would get on another plane to Denpasar, Bali. He had already booked a hotel there as well, so as long as he could get to his tropical destination, he was in for some fun and relaxation.
A 12-year-old travelling to Bali all by himself was bound to draw some attention, so to ensure his plan wouldn’t get thwarted, Drew made sure to interact with as little airport staff as possible. He avoided check-in counters by booking himself in via the self-serve option, and since he only had a hand luggage, he headed straight for the boarding gates.
Interestingly, Drew claims that in Australia, no one asked him anything about why he was unattended, or where his parents were, even after learning he was only 12. The first time anyone asked him if he was alone was in Bali. An immigration officer asked him where his mom was, and he just said she was outside. That was that.
For the next four days, Drew partied like most 12-year-olds can only dream. He stayed in a nice hotel, got people to serve him beer – he hated it – and even rented a motorcycle, even though he didn’t have a license. He was living the dream and spending thousands of dollars of his parents’ money in the process.
Back home, Drew’s parents had obviously realized that he wasn’t in school and had reported him missing. They were worried sick, and police had no leads, but the boy ended up giving up his location by sharing some photos and videos of his Bali exploits on social media, which allowed authorities to track him down.
Emma and her husband rushed to Bali to recover their missing son. Ironically, they were stopped in Perth by the same company that Drew had used to fly to the tropical island, and told they couldn’t go because they didn’t have a return ticket. You can only imagine the outrage the two parents felt knowing that the same airline had allowed their son to fly out of the country without as much as a question. But they signed a waiver and went to get Drew.
The 12-year-old is now safely back at home. He says he feels a bit embarrassed by all the commotion he’s caused, not to mention spending AUD$8,000 ($6,115) of his parents money in the process.
“I wanted to go on an adventure,” he reportedly said.