Kentucky for Kentucky — a Commonwealth-themed store based in Lexington — has created a hotline for homesick Kentuckians. The number is 1-855-883-8663 (Give it a call. I’ll wait.) After a ring or two, you’ll hear a rendition of the song “My Old Kentucky Home.”
According to Whit Hiler, who partners with the group, the number of people who have called in so far has been surprisingly high.
As of Dec. 19, there have been nearly 36,500 total calls, with an average call time of 2 minutes 4 seconds. The recording is 2:44.
“In total, people have spent 59,846 minutes on the hotline,” Hiler said. “What we’ve found is that people generally call the first time to check if it’s real and hang up after a few seconds, then call back later and listen for longer.”
But Hiler said he is more surprised by people’s reaction to the service, which started out as kind of a joke — one, he said, was inspired by group chat phone lines that were popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
“People have shared it, saying it makes them cry,” Hiler said. “Teachers have played it for their classrooms. It’s maybe received a little more seriously than the tone in which we initially made it.”
And, Hiler said, he hopes it’s used by any Kentuckians out there who are a little homesick for the holidays.