Aditya Singh said what started as a way to combat anxiety could be a way to help others.
Before Chicago Police discovered that Aditya Singh had been hiding out at O'Hare for three months, he had developed a massive online presence with a furry friend named Bubby.
On a Facebook page, in Instagram posts and through his own YouTube channel, Singh used the teddy bear to document his own travels and experiences. Those posts ranged from visits to museums and public parks, to a 5K charity run, an Oklahoma kitten adoption center, even an evening of baseball in Anaheim, California.
In each case, Bubby was there.
"I've had Bubby for over 33 years and have a close bond with him," Singh told "The Daily O'Colly," the campus newspaper of Oklahoma State University which wrote a profile of the recent alumnus in 2019. "I started to take pictures of him doing fun stuff just to entertain myself and to alleviate some of the loneliness I was feeling."
In that article, Singh admitted that taking pictures with his bear and posting them online "seemed a bit silly at the start," but that it soon became a way to break the ice with strangers and overcome his shyness. He suggested that he might even try to develop programs to help college students deal with mental health issues.
"A lot of college students go through depression or loneliness like I experienced while they're in school," he told the O'Colly in that 2019 profile. He also spoke of possibly creating a play-therapy program with the university's counseling center.
Friends said he was committed to the project and saw it as a way to bring people together.
"He was trying to to find a way to introduce people to different things throughout the country," college friend Katherine Ruck told NBC 5. "He was really passionate about getting people immersed in the culture of wherever they lived."
Singh was arrested Oct. 16 after police discovered him living on the secure side of O'Hare, where he reportedly had stepped off a flight from California last October. Prosecutors said he had been scared to board another flight because of COVID-19 concerns.
Singh was released on $10,000 bond but was required to submit to electronic monitoring, and ordered to stay away from the airport.
The 36 year old Singh has a hearing at the Skokie courthouse Friday morning. It's expected his attorney will ask for a modification of bond which might permit his return to California.