Graduate, 23, travels more than 7,000 miles across America to surprise his five college friends

This is the heartwarming moment a 23-year-old graduate traveled more than 7,000 miles across America to surprise his college friends.

Lionel Chambers drove from the state of Jersey to Upstate New York before flying to Minnesota, Oregon and California within the space of three months.

Mr Chambers, from Pasippany, New Jersey, says in the video the hardest thing about graduating from Cornell University last year was missing his friends.

Lionel Chambers drove from the state of Jersey to Upstate New York before flying to Minnesota, Oregon and California within the space of three months to surprise his five friends

Lionel Chambers drove from the state of Jersey to Upstate New York before flying to Minnesota, Oregon and California within the space of three months to surprise his five friends

Lionel Chambers drove from the state of Jersey to Upstate New York before flying to Minnesota, Oregon and California within the space of three months to surprise his five friends

And after one successful trip to visit a friend who was having a hard time, Mr Chambers decided to surprise the rest of the group.

But his five classmates were dotted across America. 

Oseoba Airwele lived in Ithaca, New York; Michael and James Smith were in Wayzata, Minnesota; Eason Recto lived in Portland and Myles Lazarou lived in Los Angeles.

Travelling between April and June this year Mr Chambers visited one friend each weekend, after speaking to their parents and friends to find out when they were free.

The group became close when they joined the track and field team at the Ivy League college, before living together for their junior and senior years.

Oseoba Airwele lived in Ithaca, New York; Michael and James Smith were in Wayzata, Minnesota; Eason Recto lived in Portland and Myles Lazarou lived in Los Angeles

Oseoba Airwele lived in Ithaca, New York; Michael and James Smith were in Wayzata, Minnesota; Eason Recto lived in Portland and Myles Lazarou lived in Los Angeles

Oseoba Airwele lived in Ithaca, New York; Michael and James Smith were in Wayzata, Minnesota; Eason Recto lived in Portland and Myles Lazarou lived in Los Angeles

He went from seeing them everyday to working a 9am to 5pm job and never seeing them at all, Mr Chambers says in the video. 

And he was ‘extremely pleased with their reactions and how it all went’ when his friends were thrilled to see him.  

‘Especially when you put time and money into something, I couldn’t be happier that I was able to pull it off,’ he said.

After arriving in each destination Mr Chambers meets up with his friend’s family before surprising them as they enjoy their weekend. 

Mr Lazarou, in Los Angeles, can only repeat 'woah' when he sees Mr Chambers in his house

Mr Lazarou, in Los Angeles, can only repeat 'woah' when he sees Mr Chambers in his house

Mr Lazarou, in Los Angeles, can only repeat ‘woah’ when he sees Mr Chambers in his house

James Smith, in Minnesota, is cooking with his parents when Mr Chambers suddenly appears in the kitchen

James Smith, in Minnesota, is cooking with his parents when Mr Chambers suddenly appears in the kitchen

James Smith, in Minnesota, is cooking with his parents when Mr Chambers suddenly appears in the kitchen

Mr Lazarou, in Los Angeles, can only repeat ‘woah’ when he sees Mr Chambers in his house.

‘Is that Lionel? Dude, how? I’m so confused right now’ is all he manages to say as he tries to process his shock.

James Smith, in Minnesota, is cooking with his parents when Mr Chambers suddenly appears in the kitchen.

Looking up from the frying pan he says ‘I hate you. What, no, I hate you, leave me alone’ as he laughs and processes what has just happened. 

Mr Airwele is enjoying a walk along a snow-lined path in New York when Mr Chambers taps him on the back.

He grins as he takes his earphones out to greet his friend with ‘you lie’, seeming to indicate Mr Chambers might have told him he was elsewhere that weekend.

Mr Recto, in Portland, is in line for the opening of a doughnut shop when Mr Chambers approaches him.

‘What the freakin’ way. No way. I am so excited,’ Mr Recto says. 

Mr Airwele is enjoying a walk along a snow-lined path in New York when Mr Chambers taps him on the back

Mr Airwele is enjoying a walk along a snow-lined path in New York when Mr Chambers taps him on the back

Mr Airwele is enjoying a walk along a snow-lined path in New York when Mr Chambers taps him on the back

Waiting for Michael Smith, James's brother, to get back from his run Mr Chambers walks outside to meet him before they pull each other in for a hug

Waiting for Michael Smith, James's brother, to get back from his run Mr Chambers walks outside to meet him before they pull each other in for a hug

Waiting for Michael Smith, James’s brother, to get back from his run Mr Chambers walks outside to meet him before they pull each other in for a hug

And waiting for Michael Smith, James’s brother, to get back from his run Mr Chambers walks outside to meet him before they pull each other in for a hug.

‘Finally being with the people you care about the most. I just feel like the whole weekend there was just a smile on my face,’ Mr Chambers says in the video.

‘I feel like that’s because when I’m around all these people I am the best version of myself.’

Later, describing his friends’ reactions, Mr Chambers says they felt ‘between really confused and happy’ which was to be expected. 

‘Their reactions were what I expected them to be because of how crazy is it for your friend to fly across the country and then randomly show up in your own house – I would be confused, too.’

And Mr Chambers says he has been inundated with comments and calls telling him how the video made people feel more grateful for the friends in their lives. 

‘The response of this video has been extremely positive,’ he added.

‘I don’t think that I have ever received so much positive feedback from something I’ve made – I got DMs, texts, calls, and comments off people telling me that they were crying or tearing up watching the video, which I was really surprised by. 

‘People told me how much seeing the video made them smile and appreciate their own friendships, which is unreal to me. 

‘I didn’t think people were going to necessarily connect with this story, but I’m glad so many did.’    

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