Meet “Dange89” aka, scotsman, David A. Taylor. This is the simple story of a friendly young man visiting Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria for the first time on his own, who finds a real sense of community in the online social media groups set up to help holidaymakers connect with accurate advice from real people.  It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.

 


 

Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, really started out as a holiday destination in 1971, after Thomas Roca Bosch, and his brothers, had bought the entire valley just three years earlier and built the first bungalows, swimming pool and Spain’s first artificial beach. It has become one of the most popular holiday resort towns on the south of a subtropical island off the coast of Africa that forms part of The Canary Islands archipelago.  With less than 30 days rainfall a year, most years less than 5, and the fairly constant all-year-long sunshine it has become a favourite for holiday makers and foreign residents alike.

Lots of families have been returning here for decades, and many retirees decide to make this their home in the sun, some even moving here permanently.

Over the last couple of years a social media page and group has sprung up, rather organically, which aims to provide a space for people sharing good information and positive vibes, along with photos and videos, for anyone who says they love Gran Canaria, and in particular those who are interested in real information from people who know the town, those who visit and those who live and work there.  One member of this online group, from Scotland, found a little taste of community over the summer when he took the daunting decision to come on holiday on his own for the first time.

David is a smart young man of 33, not long divorced, born and raised in East Kilbride, Glasgow. A football fan, he loves Arsenal, as well as, along with his father, supporting his native Celtic. David first visited Puerto Rico when he was ten years old, with his mum and dad and his brother and sister.  He’s been here 19 times in 23 years, so he is not a stranger to the place, but this year he made a decision to visit on his own, his home away from home.

Of gentle nature, and a little wide-eyed, David has struggled a little over recent years; a break up, a pandemic, a cost of living crisis or two, but his parents have always been supportive and he especially credits his mother for really helping him through one of the more difficult times of his life.  This year he has felt ready enough to really start to try to rebuild his future, and to set out on his life journey once more, so of course one of the first places to naturally start was the island of sunshine and palm trees that he has most of his life associated with good times and the warmth of summer. “It’s my Spanish home” he says earnestly “I don’t own a house there but it’s in my heart”

Even feeling like he knows the place, going anywhere abroad as a single person can feel quite scary, but David possesses an innate optimism, whatever life throws at him his brain is wired to try to overcome it and see the sunny side, though life can sometimes be confusing, David is unafraid of adversity.

Having found, and joined, the Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria group he simply, without any affectations, posted an image of himself, announcing that he was here on his own, but up for meeting new people, perhaps playing a game of pool, and he asked if anyone knew where he might find a bar showing an Arsenal match while we was in town.  He got ribbed a little for announcing himself as a ‘gooner‘, “must be bad shirt night” teased one user, but in the main people were helpful and gently encouraged him to have a great holiday.

Something about him made various members of this nearly-120,000-strong group warm to the man in the open necked shirt out on the town on his own.  It started with a thumbs up and a few hearts reacting to his post, and then a few of the friendlier members commented some encouragement to him, letting him know where he might find them in the busy nightspots of this well-loved Costa Mogán resort town.

Heartened, David posted a few more pictures of himself and went to enjoy a few drinks out in the many bars and the colourful nightlife of the main Puerto Rico Shopping Centre, one of his favourite places being Bar Sixty Nine on the upper floor of the centro comercial. The people he met reported back to the group and sang his praises, and he thanked everyone for being so friendly.

He posted a few more images of Tino and Pino who were looking after him at Lufesa apartments, where he was staying, clearly pleased to be enjoying a little wander around the town and the constant blue skies.

But, then, about three days in to his holiday a nasty little comment appeared under one of his images “I’m tired of seeing your face” said some grumpy old man who thought it would be ok for him to express his negativity by lobbing cutting remarks at a chap, travelling alone, who he’d never met. For some reason this guy chose unpleasantness as a response to David’s expressing an open heart and high hopes and joining the group to see if he could perhaps make his way in the world, and feel well on a holiday to a place that feels like home. It wasn’t ok to receive abuse from a stranger like that.

The members of the group started to rally round, they voiced their concern that anyone could be allowed to be so unnecessarily rude, to dismiss a guy who was, in the spirit of the group, communicating openly with everyone and sharing some positivity while he encouraged members also holidaying at the same time to meet up, getting a little advice about where to find the things he wanted to do, and basically being no bother to anyone at all.

Complaints started to flood in to the group admins, run by a small team of volunteers who support local causes as part of their outreach for the not-for-profit Association The Long Walk.  The entire point of the group is so that people have a place to get great advice and recommend those businesses, people and places who go the extra mile to help ensure that Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria always delivers on smiles, sunshine and good times. Bullies, abuse and generally neggy comments are not really welcome.

Running a group of more than 100,000 people, keeping things friendly, avoiding scammers and spammers, while nurturing real conversation and accurate information, is more than a full time job, and of course you can’t police everyone, but the admins on Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria do a great job of responding to complaints, sent directly to them, and making clear to offenders that they need to scroll on or get in the sea, but that bullying and outright negativity is simply not welcome.  The grumpy old man was shown the door.

After a couple of days or so of not hearing anything more, members started to ask if anyone had seen David, who had gone very quiet. “I just wanted to let them all calm down.  The fella wasn’t the first person to be nasty, but I know he doesn’t actually know anything about me, so I just wanted to give it a bit of a breather.”

Sure enough David declared himself fit and well and found himself even becoming just a little famous around the town “I couldn’t believe it,” he says, “people were saying hello to me on the street. I froze in the supermarket when a checkout girl asked me if I was David! It was great. I really felt that people were being genuine and welcoming, though it was a little odd to be abused by a guy I’d never met, it was amazing to think that loads of other people I had never met stood by my side and told him that it wasn’t on!”

David has a following on TikTok, of about 10,000 people, and though his videos are not always to everyone’s liking, they are, like David, open and honest and refreshing and they often promote the sunnier side of life.

@dangerzone.89

“I was not sure before, but now I would recommend to any one to definitely take a chance and visit Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria on your own some time.  Everyone is so friendly, and with groups like that one you never have to feel like you are without some people around you who really take an interest in making everything all right.  I can’t wait for my next visit, my mum and dad have already come out again themselves, and now I know this really is my home away from home in the sunshine.  Thank you Gran Canaria!”

A lovely fella by all accounts, the members of Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria made sure he knew that he was very welcome and showed why this is one of the most hospitable holiday destinations in the world, and why more than 1 million people every year choose to return, as families, couples or indeed as solo travellers looking for a little adventure and relaxation.

Thanks for visiting Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria.

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