BYU students pick up Shia LaBeouf on road trip across the country

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BYU students Scott Daly and Hank Hansen set out from Provo on Wednesday evening with one goal: to intercept Shia LaBeouf on the star’s hitchhiking journey across America.

On Friday afternoon, they successfully picked LaBeouf up in Omaha, Nebraska.

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LaBeouf first became known as Louis Stevens on the Disney Channel show “Even Stevens,” but more recently has garnered attention for his performance art. #IAMSORRY may be his best-known performance, wherein LaBeouf sat in a room in a Los Angeles gallery and spectators entered one-by-one to interact with him any way they chose.

LaBeouf’s latest project, #TAKEMEANYWHERE, is a road trip across the U.S. with a twist: LaBeouf, along with collaborators Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner, tweet their coordinates periodically, and whoever picks them up first can take the artists anywhere they want. The project’s website is a live feed of LaBeouf’s, Rönkkö’s and Turner’s location.

This is where Daly and Hansen came in.

Daly, a junior studying advertising, heard about #TAKEMEANYWHERE on the morning of May 25. Daly, a follower of LaBeouf’s work, tracked LaBeouf’s location on the project website. He realized that with LaBeouf in Wyoming and heading west on I-80, the next logical stop would be Salt Lake City. However, LaBeouf changed directions and began heading east instead.

Daly posted on Facebook asking who would accompany him to track down LaBeouf. At 5:30 p.m., he and Hansen left for Wyoming.
Daly posted on Facebook asking who would accompany him to find LaBeouf. At 5:30 p.m., he and Hansen left for Wyoming. (Scott Daly)

That evening Daly and Hansen, a sophomore studying graphic design, decided to intercept LaBeouf in Laramie, Wyoming. They got as close as they could to LaBeouf’s location on the #TAKEMEANYWHERE website and waited.

“We bought sleeping bags at Walmart and slept in Scott’s car,” Hansen said. “We weren’t about to let Shia LaBeouf slip away unnoticed in the night. Of course, he had already slipped away.”

What Daly and Hansen didn’t realize at the time was that LaBeouf was on the move heading east, although his website didn’t show that.

“We’re not sure if he just turned the GPS off for the night or if the signal was lost in transit, but however it happened, we suddenly realized he was an hour away from us,” Hansen said.

When LaBeouf tweeted his coordinates, Daly and Hansen hurried to reach him, but someone else beat them to it. However, that didn’t deter them.

“Our original plan was to drive super fast for 20 minutes down I-80, and if he hadn’t stopped by then, we were prepared to accept defeat and turn back around,” Hansen said. “But then we realized—we’re young, we’re allowed to be reckless. We’ve come too far to stop now. So 20 minutes came and went, and we just kept on speeding towards Shia LaBeouf with no clear destination.”

Their persistence paid off when the two caught up to LaBeouf, Rönkkö, Turner and their ride at Lake McConaughy in Nebraska at about 2:30 p.m., where LaBeouf’s group was playing the guitar. Daly and Hansen spoke with the group for several minutes. LaBeouf told them that they wouldn’t travel with anyone else until their current ride dropped them off at their destination in Omaha, Nebraska.

According to Hansen, LaBeouf asked the pair if they were planning on coming to Omaha. When LaBeouf reached Omaha and tweeted his coordinates, Daly and Hansen successfully picked him up.

The pair originally planned to bring LaBeouf back to Provo, but with the distance between them and Provo, they’re now heading to Kansas City, Missouri.

“But hey, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey,” Hansen said. “That’s Shia’s words, not ours.”