Woman Swaps Prize Twitter Handle for Water for Flint

She gave up her Dr Pepper account for 41K bottles of water from soda company
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2016 12:26 PM CDT
Woman Swaps Prize Twitter Handle for Water for Flint
Diana Hussein   (Twitter)

For seven years, Diana Hussein has held the @DrDietPepper Twitter handle she created on a whim, tweeting mainly about local sports and her cats and hoping to maybe one day get some money or free swag if the Dr Pepper Snapple Group wanted to barter for it, the Detroit Free Press reports. "I created my handle [at the time] using what was the nearest thing to me: a can of soda on my desk," she recalls. But when the Dearborn, Mich., resident started hearing about the Flint water crisis, the wheels in her head started turning. The soda company had actually extended a proposal earlier this year—her account for a bunch of branded merch—but Hussein counteroffered with a more generous idea: The company could donate water to Flint, ABC News reports.

"When I found out they owned and distributed [bottles of water], I thought that was a really great opportunity," she says, and the company agreed, shipping 41,000 bottles (worth about $5,000) to the parched city last month—an amount the New York Daily News notes would provide enough water to 250 families for one day or to a family of three through the end of 2016. "Rather than accepting any compensation for this Twitter handle as many might expect, she put the needs of her community first and we were happy to oblige," a Dr Pepper Snapple Group rep said in a statement, per NBC Chicago. "I had been feeling kind of helpless [about Flint]," she tells the Free Press. "Still do, really. But I'm glad I had an opportunity like this present itself … When you hear about what they're having to do right now, it doesn't seem like there could be enough water." As for Hussein, she's still on Twitter, but now under the more personalized @heyadiana handle. (The crisis has made Flint's property values plummet.)

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