BELLBROOK — Jordan Hart wanted to help raise awareness of human trafficking.
So he grabbed a buddy, hopped in a Tesla, and sped from California to New York “Cannonball Run” style.
In reality, it didn’t go down that quickly. But that’s the gist of it as the Bellbrook native set a record for the fastest transcontinental drive in an electric vehicle and raised a couple thousand dollars for a non-profit organization.
Hart and Bradly D’Souza took off from the Hotel Portofino in Redondo Beach, Calif. 2:30 a.m. Ohio time July 2 and arrived at the Red Ball Garage on East 31st Street in New York City 51 hours, 47 minutes later, beating the record by three hours, 13 minutes.
The two became friends through mutual fondness of the Tesla, and part of Hart’s inspiration to help fight trafficking was also through D’Souza, whose father, Harold, is a native of India and was brought to the Cincinnati area via human trafficking. On a retreat in Tennessee is where Hart first learned trafficking was taking place all over.
“For me, I never thought of the human trafficking as being local, as wide spread as it is,” Hart said. “I saw the movie “Taken,” and thought that’s something that happens in rare instances. That’s where I got the idea that people aren’t aware of this thing.”
Hart’s friend Trent Bamberry set up freedom5000.org, a website dedicated to raise money for Harold D’Souza’s Eyes Open International, a non-profit started with his wife, Dancy, and Xavier University teacher Jessica Donohue-Dioh. Donohue-Dioh is a co-founder of End Slavery Cincinnati, another anti-trafficking group.
The race to New York and its ensuing publicity helped the money flow.
“The donations have really been coming in,” Hart said.
In addition to setting the record, Hart — a 2007 graduate of Xenia Christian High School — and D’Souza were the first to make the 2,830-mile trip as a duo instead of a threesome.
Driving in D’Souza’s 2015 Midnight Silver Tesla Model S 85D, the pair went through Arizona, New Mexico, the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey before making it to the Big Apple.
They averaged 85 miles per hour while driving, made one food stop and charged the vehicle every three hours. When one drove, the other slept.
“It wasn’t as bad as I expected, honestly,” Hart said. “We had four minutes of inclement weather the entire time. It was a beautiful lightning thunderstorm in the Arizona desert at night. It was the most incredible lightning I have ever seen.”
Passing the Grand Canyon and not being able to stop wasn’t exactly fun, Hart said. Neither were the record-high temperatures approaching 115 degrees in Arizona and New Mexico. But approaching NYC on July 4, seeing One World Trade Center off in the distance was a moving experience.
“It was a lot of fun coming into the city,” Hart said.
It took nearly a week before Hart, 28, started feeling like himself again. But he’s already thinking about his next venture.
“I’ve got some ideas to do some different records every year, other issues to raise awareness of,” Hart said.
He’s been approached to be part of a team going around the world via electric transportation modes. That comes with a high price tag so for now, he will stick to going across the country.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.