A Harvard student fulfilled his lifelong dream of crossing the Charles River aboard a giant pumpkin. Ben Chang did so with nothing but a behemoth 1,500-pound gourd, an oar, and a little help from some friends.
On October 2 Ben Chang, also known as Reddit user Bejamin 621, published a post that quickly went viral. The headline?
The post had over 700 engagements, with many determined to help Ben fulfill his dream, deadline on par. Benjamin 621 wrote on Reddit:
“Hello! It is my life’s dream to row a giant pumpkin down the Charles River and I have finally saved up enough money to purchase one, but I just found out from the pumpkin grower that I need a forklift to receive it (as it is 1000 pounds). I, unfortunately, do not have a forklift nor the ability to operate one, so I am asking for help from my fellow Bostonians.
If you can help me forklift the pumpkin on October 14th (just from the truck to the ground), I promise I will let you take a ride in the pumpkin boat as well! Please help a pumpkin-lover fulfill his dream! Also, would love if you have any advice with any parts of this endeavor.”
Good Samaritan, Tim Myra, connected to Chang’s post and volunteered one of his forklifts. He said Ben’s dream is awesome but noted he won’t be getting in that dirty Charles water.
Making a pumpkin boat
Ben originally set his eyes on a 900-pound pumpkin but instead got an even more massive gourd, at 1,500 pounds it was the monster truck of pumpkin boats. Ben sourced the pumpkin from a farm in New Hampshire and it was trucked down to Cambridge. The group used Myra’s forklift to transport the pumpkin to the banks of the Charles.
Chang and friends carved and gutted the pumpkin, even forming an accidental crack in the bottom. The crack was sealed with duct tape to ensure proper buoyancy. It took 2-hours for Ben and friends to prepare the pumpkin for its mission.
Rasing money for his student-led lab, Chang offered rides in his seasonal vessel to participants and charged a fee for rides. Then, it was Ben’s turn and he steered across the Charles River in a Harvard sweatshirt and captain’s hat.
“My parents are not super happy this is happening,” said Chang.