William Novak of Phoenix got the email on Jan. 7 about the ski weekend for Angelo. He didn't know the person but the party with its over-the-top invitation sounded like a good time so he emailed back as a joke to say he was in. Novak, 35, about the same age as the others invited, expected to get no response or one recognizing his humor. Instead, the party-goers from New Jersey and New York agreed that Novak should join the fun.
"When they wrote back and they were like 'if you're serious, we're serious, get here' I was blown away. I just started cracking up laughing. I was like 'oh my gosh, these guy seem insane,'" he said. Likewise, Angelo Onello's brother, who sent the email, appreciated his humor.
"It started as a joke and ended up being probably a good mistake," said Devin Onello, who said he and Novak have hit it off ever since. Novak, a father of a 10-month-old who with his wife has spent much of their savings on renovating their old house, had a hard time rationalizing spending $750 on airfare, ski rentals and lift passes so he started a GoFundMe page with the heading, "Help me go the bachelor party of a stranger." By the time he and his family had eaten dinner that day, his trip was funded.
He's only skied once — at age 14 on a church trip — but said he's up for the adventure. The party organizers say the weekend will be tough on his liver. Novak told them he's not much of a drinker, which they said was OK because he could be the designated driver. He offered to bring his Nintendo switch to play but they said Angelo is not much of a video game player. As a spoof he also offered to bring Soduko puzzles, which they took him up on.
Others have also offered to pitch in, with one company offering Hawaiian shirts for the occasion, a Vermont bar providing locally made beer, and a tattoo artist offering to make matching tattoos, which Novak says he declined.
When Novak learned that Angelo and his fiance are expecting a baby, a woman in Mesa, Arizona, where Novak works, made a baby blanket. His neighborhood in Phoenix is also sending a gift bag of locally made items.
Novak plans to fly into Boston and rent a car and drive to Okemo on Friday. He's changed his route so he can pick up the beer in Brattleboro on the way. "I'm just the sort of person who tries to be open to things," he said.