Austin man schedules hundreds of vaccine appointments for strangers
[Apr. 2, 2021: Lindsey Ragas]
Hundreds of Austin residents are having a hard time securing a COVID-19 vaccine appointment because spots fill up within minutes of being posted. Now a North Austin man is helping strangers find vaccine appointments and has already successfully signed up hundreds of people.
Ben Liggett spends hours scouring multiple websites for available vaccine appointments and immediately signs people up who’ve asked him for help.
“On the vaccine thing, I just helped out some family friends that couldn’t figure out how to get signed up and I think my number got passed around. I take a few calls a day just trying to get people signed up,” Liggett said. “I think a lot of it is that people are trying to survive and work for a living. They don’t have time to sit at a screen and watch it refresh. Up until this week, our kids were home with zoom school, so I could just keep the HEB or CVS window popped up and either me or my son could see whenever H-E-B releases a slot of appointments. We’d hurry up and try to click and grab a few spots and work through our list.”
Liggett and his family are no strangers to volunteering.
“My parents are pretty big on helping other people out. My wife and I met in college doing volunteer stuff, it’s just something we like to do,” Liggett said.
Years later, Liggett and his family are still volunteering, helping where they can. During the winter storm, they helped several families that went without heat or water.
“Somebody posted something on Nextdoor needing help, so we downloaded the app and started helping people out,” Liggett said. “During the winter storm, we just had a bunch of different people in the neighborhood, either older folks that needed help with getting firewood into their house or figuring out how to run a generator. We’d help pick up family members that are across town without power and water. My two sons and I just tried to help out where we could.”
Liggett and his wife recently volunteered at vaccine clinics, which is where they received their first and second vaccine doses.
“I lucked out. My wife volunteered in Bell County and got vaccinated. I volunteered in Bastrop County and got vaccinated,” Liggett said.
Before the pandemic hit, his family was volunteering with multiple non-profits.
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“Pre-pandemic we were really big into Mobile Loaves & Fishes. We love making the truck run with our boys for our church. When the ice storm hit, we found Austin Mutual Aid and they had a bunch of different opportunities to help deliver water. So, we keep an eye on Austin Mutual Aid to see what opportunities they have to help with him,” Liggett said.
Liggett and his family also volunteer at Austin Needs Water and at their church, First United Methodist of Austin.
All of the volunteer work his family is involved in is for this simple reason.
“The right thing to do is help other people out when they’re in need,” Liggett said. “We were raised that way.”