Ben Best Bikes for Lost Soldier

By 2008.01.25 tags: , , . 40 Comments»

PFC Matt Maupin, US ArmyBenjamin Allen Best is a biker on a mission, a mission dedicated to the lost soldier Matt Maupin. Benjamin is on a journey to bicycle through every state in the continental US, spreading the word of the sacrifice people like Matt have made for our country. His ride started in Florida in 2004 and continues still. Like on any epic adventure, the traveler can get a bit weary, as evidenced in his posts…

Ben Best’s Lost Soldier blog: Regular updates by Benjamin on his travels.

Missing Soldier Matt Maupin: WLWT-TV story archive‐ Keith Matthew “Matt” Maupin (born July 13, 1983) is a United States Army PFC captured by Iraqi insurgents on April 9, 2004 while serving in the Iraq War after his convoy came under attack by rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire near Baghdad, Iraq. Read more about this ongoing ordeal.

Benjamin Allen Best and “The Lost Soldier”: Dirt Rag Blog hosts an extensive forum of sightings and meetings with Benjamin at various stages of his travels.

via Jeff Ramiriz, KERA-Dallas and Andy Bruno of Dirt Rag mag.

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Comments (40)

I met benjamin this morning in gaston south carolina
He told me this trip is about 911. But people think its
About Matt. He then continued to say he was a christian
(Episcapal) and how he is traveling across the country
\Partying and drinking\ ( Ephesians 5:18 ) with people
from just about every denomination there is. He speaks
Highly of the ones who help him and bashes those that don’t.
He told me that worst of all was Baptist and they offered
No help and no compassion at all. That’s when I told him
that I know for a fact that my Pastor from Faith ( Baptist )
Church gave him money and pointed him towards a motel
Just yesterday. I feel sure that he has been abusing good
christians throughout his journey. He said that he was tired
Of hearing about Jesus and salvation. He seems to be
More concerned with compassion and feelings. I must say
That rubbing his belly and patting him on the back is what
He Is looking for when in truth no amount of either will gain
You eternal life ( Mat 10:32,33 – John 3:17- Ephesians 2:7- 2:18
1 Thess. 5:9) I will end by saying to Benjamin, I pray God
Will bless you with the truth of his love , glory and grace
And give you a safe return home from your quest.

Comment added by bill p. on 06.09.10

I met this man one last night coming out of a long shopping 4 my two grandsons who was at camp wesleywood camp this was 7/2010,&my dear mother was freaking out as she had got lost from me,she just couldn”t see me&she just freaked out but I thank God 4 this man bebjaniman best as my mom made it out-side at walmart in LENIORCITY,Tenn.,and there was benijaman,he was talking to my mother,I really feel that he saved her from some-thing bad happening to her,even though I was right behind my mother not where he nor my mother knew I was next to them both ;just like I said my mother was freaking out and he had no ideal she was sick but he started talking to her and like I said that she really needed&even if I did not tell him that she was 4getting things&that she wasn”t even sure where she was he just has a big heart for other people,as thats the thing I for sure picked up on as I was right behind my mother but yet not to where he or my mom knew,so I came on out-side once my mother had had that bad spell inside walmart,and once I seen that Benijamin was telling my mother some-thing that made her snap out of being lost from me,he was telling my mother something so I walked out and listen to what he was telling my mother ,she wasn”t sure of what he was telling her,so I just walked over so they both knew that I was standing there,I ask him what he was talking about he told me about his mother,then about the lost soldier&I then really started asking alot more questions&he told me all that I ask,but my nephens daughter was with us&Benijamin was just wanting Hayley to take to his story,and I feel as if she had of this could of helped her also but this would just be another story,all I do know this is the first time that I have got to check out his story&just the things he told me was true so in my eyes this means Big pluses 4 him.So I hope this little I told or who-ever this goes to is good&that it helps.Hey Benijam if u are the one that reads this,just want to say keep your good work up&I wish you the best.And if you come back through Tenn.,let me know.

Comment added by teresa on 03.14.11

Ben was here! I own a bar in east Texas. Yes Benjamin drinks! Yes he socializes! He never asked for anything and was happy to camp out back! We brought him home for 2 days insisting he stayed for longer for rest food and a shower. He spoke about some ones son about the sacrificed of a lost soldier and explained what his family was going through. We could all do better to put ourselfs it that boys and his family shoes for our freedom! Ben may be a little different and unconventional but he at least takes a mans life with him on his journey. (no matter how insignificant u all may feel it is). He was someones son! Keep on peddling Ben! See you next rime in Texas on your way through! (hopefully!)

Comment added by Jennifer and shanne on 06.25.11

Ben is still peddling! I met him while fishing in Big Cypress Bayou in Jefferson Texas. I was casting a top water bait, when I noticed a mans head in the middle of the water. It was Ben! His bike was parked on the shoreline, complete with his backpack and gear. The temperature was about 107 and he was cooling off after a tough morning ride from south on hwy 59. He was heading to Texarkana and or DeQueen Arkansas. He spoke of riding for the memory of a lost soldier. I didn’t quite understand, but understand more after researchin him on the web.I only talked to him a few minutes. We took a photo. I gave him some water, and he was on his way, north on Hwy 59. This was on July 3, 2011.

Ben, you need a comprehensive blog that has all your data on it. Your story is amazing, but it is hard to get the information.

Comment added by spir on 07.04.11

Been just passed through southern indiana, bad run of luck in hoosier state as people stole his bike but, catholic church helped get new one. Ready to leave hoosier state(which I can’t blame him), and not able to cross bridge without motorized vehicle, I took him to KY. It was a pleasure listening to his story and I wish him the best on his travel.

Comment added by Steve on 08.29.11

Ben slept underneath our church deck last night in Middletown, Kentucky, on the east side of Louisville. He introduced himself this morning, told me his story, and asked for help. I gave him money for breakfast, met him later after the service, put his bike and gear in my truck and took him to Frankfort, Kentucky. I dropped him off at the Goodwill store with forty dollars.

I hear many stories as a pastor. I didn’t help Ben because he is doing some noble thing (he may think so, I do not) or because he ran a con on me. Ben is man with problems not that different from my own. I helped because I could, because it is cold out, and because it is what I would want someone to do for me. I’m a recovering addict. I know how much grace was “wasted” on me.

Comment added by Jan Alan McKenzie on 12.10.11

We just met him in winchester ky!!

Comment added by Erica cruz on 12.26.11

Just stopped by our church looking for Gods true people. He seemed nice and chatted along time. One thing that did disturb me though is that he wasnt really supporting the soldier per say but more or less was calling him a fool for serving a country he didnt really care for. I was a little socked to see some of the blogs here saying he was supporting a troop gone missing. Also he kept bad mouthing churches that didnt show compassion(give money). He told me of a story about a baptist church giving him a food card for King Soopers and said he was ashamed receiving it. He ended up buy cigarrets and beer to return it to the church to prove a point that some how the church thought he was a drunk or smoker or something to that degree. Anyway if you didnt give him money you seemed not to be his friend….not bad mouthing him just pointing out my experience with him. Hope he gets to where he needs to safely and God Bless him.

Comment added by Jim on 06.01.12

Ben just stopped by my church in Independence, MO. he said he was looking to get to Chicago where he had friends so he could ultimately make his way to Alaska for some reason. He also told me he was looking for ‘real Christian people who visited the prisons’ because ‘only real Christians visit prisons.’ I got him lunch and a few dollars cash.

He also told me he spent 20 years in jail for manslaughter… fyi.

Comment added by Jason on 08.15.12

Ben stopped by my church in Atchison, KS, yesterday. Didn’t mention anything about Matt or those in military service. Did talk about wanting to get to Florida, or maybe Utah, or maybe Alaska, or maybe somewhere down south; no clear plan, as far as I could tell. Also mentioned (as Jason noted, above) having spent 20 years in prison for manslaughter (in Florida). Indicated that he hoped to travel from town to town and collect “love offerings” from Seventh Day Adventist churches. Said he needed a place to stay for the night before moving on the following day, so I put him up for the night in a local hotel and gave him directions for getting to where he said he wanted to go. The next day, however, he was back on my doorstep, asking for more money; I turned him away and wished him luck.

Comment added by Andrew on 03.12.13

Just met (seen) Ben at Starbucks in Trussville, Alabama. Ben was speaking to a couple of regulars about his journey. The conversation I overheard was how the church, and pastors were basically no good. He was also speaking about how someone called cops on him last night for sleeping on the church grounds. Ben said the cops ran him off of “Gods” property.

Ben was not causing any trouble, but I could tell that his opinion was the only one that mattered.

Good luck Ben, and I hope God touches you and changes you from the inside out.

By the way, Ben was trying to get to Florida.


Comment added by Larry on 06.07.13

I met Ben on 10/15/13 @ around 2am in Zachary, LA. I stopped for gas and saw him resting. After a brief exchange, I took him up the road for coffee, then north to St. Francisville. I enjoyed our conversation as we traveled. Ben spoke of his friends, their son, and his journey! Though he is a peculiar individual, I believe some people misinterpret his straight forward, blunt attitude for ungratefulness! He was a charming, polite, and grateful traveler who although mentioning those who turned him away, also praised those who helped! I feel if we turned the microscope on ourselves we may also come across in a not so flattering light as well! I am a Methodist, a Freemason, and a traveler, who helped him as neither of these, but as all combined! I also helped him no more than he helped me! God places people in our paths to help and encourage us as well as for us to help and encourage! I learn from every encounter I have, good or bad! However I will say my encounter with Ben was a very good one!
Ben if you see this, thanks for sharing your life with me and I hope to see you or hear from you again… down the road!
Peaceful Travels!

Comment added by Scott Moore on 10.17.13

Scott. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I met him today. While listening to his stories, I silently questioned what he is about and the purpose of our encounter. I somewhat questioned my actions. Your comments helped bring it together to make sense.

He did mention some churches unwillingness to help. I bluntly told him that maybe it’s because his story just didn’t quite add up, as it was confusing to me.

The only thing I regret is that we didn’t pray before he went on his way.

Thank you Lord for putting me there today. Guide my life, my actions, and my thoughts each day, every minute, every second. Amen.

Comment added by NH on 10.21.13

  l personally had chance to meet Benjamin tonight in zMany , la and I found him to be a very dedicated man that finds it necessary to honor & remember those that were lost and those who fought for this country so we could be free . He had a few drinks , i fed him some good ole country style food and sat and listen to his story , He never once ask anyone for anything . In my opinion we need more folks like Benjamin ! Hats off to you Benjamin keep on pedaling and if your ever back in Many, Louisiana stop by and have a drink ! ! May God be with you on your journey ! ! Your bartender at ” The Bar ” in Many , La . Leslie

Comment added by leslie on 11.07.13


Comment added by Susie Randles on 02.07.14

We just drove Ben and his bike across the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, he is making his way to D.C. Good Luck and God Speed.

Comment added by David on 04.22.14

Ben stopped in Odenton, Md. I had drinks with him and talked about his journey. He is a nice guy. He is actually on his way to the site of the plane crash in Shanksville, Pa. I grew up close to there in W indber, Pa. He had peddled there four other times he told me. I believe him because he knew things about that area that you dont know unless you have been there. His main reason for doing his bike ride is to commemorate Veterans who have served. 9 11 2001 effected this man into doing this journey and he hasn’t stopped since. He has never worn a uniform but by just talking to him and seeing data online about him I feel he belong to our group of people. The man has passion. And cares about Veteran’s.

Comment added by Kent on 05.14.14

Is there a picture of this guy. I may have given him my bike when he was riding through years ago. He came through eastern Cincinnati and was on an old broken down diamond back.

Comment added by Tim King on 06.21.16

Ran into Ben in Auburn, CA. Not making much sense these days. I believe his mental health is deteriorating.

Comment added by Rob on 02.16.17

Ben is my brother. I have not seen him in 20 years. I would like to know where he is.

Comment added by Karen on 06.08.17

Ben is in Cody, Wyoming, headed north to Billings I believe. I helped him with a little cash and talked for a bit. His story is a bit confusing these days, but he’s still pedaling away.

Comment added by Nathan on 09.14.17

He was in Hudson WI yesterday, 1-16-18. We helped him with food and clothes. A friend took him to the local truck stop so he could shower and wash clothes. He said he was trying to get to Chicago.

Comment added by Trish on 01.17.18

Karen, Ben just stopped at the church I work at this morning (January 23, 2018) around 11am in Janesville, WI. He mentioned to the pastor he spoke with that he wanted to ride to Chicago from here because he might have a friend there, and was asking for names of highways to take. He was given $20 by someone here and given directions to the local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores. Said he had $6 to his name and needed money to by a rack for his bicycle, that he had been camping outside and eating freeze dried food. Said he was not cold even though it had snowed last night. I hope you find him.

Comment added by Jo on 01.23.18

Ben stopped by my church in St. Charles, IL this morning. I spent 45 minutes talking with him. After reflecting on my visit, I feel compelled to share some thoughts.

I don’t see how Ben’s travel commemorates our veterans. Veterans are men and women who have given so much. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice. The best way to commemorate a veteran, I believe, is to give back. Do work for a community. Help the family of a fallen hero. Be a citizen that contributes to making America a great nation.

Ben’s journey seems to involve more taking than giving. His travel takes him from town to town, church to church, drawing on the strained resources of compassionate people. I guess I would like, for once, to have someone come to the door and say, “I’d like to volunteer to do some work around your place in memory of a lost veteran.” That would contribute to this great nation that our veterans fight to defend. It would inspire people to give of themselves and their resources. It would make a positive impact.

It’s really difficult to know where someone’s heart is after only a brief encounter. I try to use discernment and guard against cynicism. But I came away feeling like Ben’s journey is more about supporting Ben than anything else. I hope I am wrong.
As Ben left, he asked for directions to more churches.

Comment added by PastorPaul on 02.27.18

Pastor Paul, I am sorry to say this, but I believe you summed up my brother’s situation quite accurately. His mental health has never been very good.

Comment added by Karen on 03.12.18

Seems Ben was in Phoenix, AZ between 9/13/2015 and 9/21/2015. He left a hand-written spiral bound journal of some 22 pages on an outside bench at a church on the north central side of town. A note at the top of the first page contained “”, a login of Ben’s name and a password. We found the blog at The style, etc. matches perfectly although the blog appears unupdated since 2010. So we copied the journal and transcribed it hoping to find Ben eventually and provide it to him. The original journal remained on the bench for several days. I don’t believe Ben ever came back for it. The content would confirm Pastor Paul’s take on Ben’s outlook at the time. Perhaps something or someone in Ben’s travels will bring him around. In any event, we would be happy to fill in that 22 page gap in his memoirs.

Comment added by Ken on 09.09.18

Benjamin stopped by my church in Calhoun, GA this morning as I was getting ready for service. Our conversation lasted about 45 minutes and sounds pretty much the same as the conversation Bill P. described in the first entry on this page (June 2010). Benjamin spoke of the Kairos Prison Ministry which I happen to be involved in.

I have rarely spoken with someone so consumed with rage (and I used to serve as a jail chaplain). I’m sure our conversation would have been different if I wasn’t trying to get ready for a church service. In the end, Benjamin didn’t want to hear anything except how I was going to “help” him. He spewed anger and hatred with every word. He was very angry about his Facebook profile that went missing and blames a Baptist pastor for part of his situation. Maybe we’ll cross paths again one day. Until then, I’ll keep praying and trusting Jesus to meet him at his point of need.

Comment added by Sean Hachem on 12.16.18

As of right now Ben is peddling down the Natchez Trace Parkway headed south just out of Kosciusko Ms. He’s riding a gun metal gray mtn. bike pulling a little two wheel trailer with his belongings inside. We provided him with some food, water and a new sheet and blanket to sleep on. He has a tent and really needs a tire on his trailer. It’s not flat yet. Ben has a lot of anger in his heart because of people that did him wrong. We tried to make up for a little of it today.

Comment added by Charles Mask Jr on 06.13.19

Ben was in Sturgis Ms. Today at our church. We met Ben and brought him some hot food, coffee and a Sprite. Ben has a lot of anger in his heart towards Southern Baptists. This we found out during our 3 hours with him. We thought this odd since it was a Southern Baptists church he was sleeping at. Ben wanted to get to Jackson Ms. so we took him 33 miles to the Natchez Trace Parkway where he could cycle in relative safety. He was riding a gun metal gray mtn bike pulling a multi colored two wheel bike trailer. We bought him some food and water for the road. I hope our actions helped him with his anger issues since I am a deacon at the church he was sleeping at.

Comment added by Charles Mask Jr on 06.13.19

Ben is headed south on the Natchez Trace Parkway just out of Kosciusko Ms. He’s got some anger issues but is harmless. We fed him and bought some food for him.

Comment added by Charles Mask Jr on 06.13.19

We met Ben in Bernillio NM today he was in good spirits and just wanted him to know his story and needs didn’t fall on deaf ears . Someone had stollen his gear, set him up with coat gloves and head gear.He was headed for California, we wish him the best of luck on his journey,God’s blessings on him.

Comment added by Debra Williams on 02.13.20

I met Ben today on 2-20-20 at 10:39 pm at a motel lobby in Rio Rancho New Mexico. He talked about how bad Albuquerque New Mexico is, and how a pastor from Calvary Chapel did him wrong.He said his belongings were stolen in Albuquerque and a catholic priest help buy him new items. Ben told me he was going to take highway 528 north to highway 550 west to Farmington New Mexico. He told me he sleeps during the day and rides his bike at night. He told me of his love for coffee. He has a tablet that he posted his message on facebook. He seems like a nice person, easy to talk to.

Comment added by matthew trujillo on 02.21.20

Ben came in Calvary Westside today. We sat down for about an hour over some coffee and a gentleman from our church helped him with a new tire for his bike. He said he’s headed to California to Facebook headquarters. He is filled with so much anger toward churches and Christians which is sad to see – especially after reading the posts here.

Comment added by Sam on 03.02.20

Spent 4 hrs yesterday with Benjamin. He’d spent the last couple of days & nights under highway 95 In Quarrzsite,Az. Probably the coolest place outside that has no a/c. He’s on his way to Cal. after a tour north. He got his clothes washed, water, some food items, some repairs, etc. it was an experience. Got to give home credit. Especially after reading the above stories.

Comment added by George Wonenberg on 07.23.20

I like Ben. He stopped by my church yesterday, his bike pretty much shot, so another man and I at the church bought him a new bike and we’re going to try to do more to help him get on his way to Facebook headquarters. Karen, don’t worry about your brother. He’ll be fine…the Lord is watching over him. He still thinks a pastor from NC is following him with tracker in his bike air pump or some other way. Perhaps a bit confused or maybe a touch of paranoia? But otherwise he is a pleasant and interesting person with a lot of interesting stories to tell on his journeys. May the Lord bless and keep him. I’m sure the Holy Spirit asked me to assist him. No agenda. Just the Golden Rule. I’ll pray for him when we do what we can to help. I think the Lord has a plan for his life, and these encounters are part of the larger picture. Sincerely, Rev. David Graham Grace Community Church, Boulder City, NV.

Comment added by David Graham on 08.26.20

Benjamin stopped by our church in Idaho Falls today. He is riding a pretty nice bike that I think the previous person who commented set him up with. It sounds like at this point he’s moving North into Montana, Northern Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and then to California where he wants to meet with Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook. We talked for the better part of an hour. He talked about his prison time for manslaughter, growing up as an Episcopalian, strong dissatisfaction with the church and how they Shuffle people off to rescue missions without understanding what a rescue mission requires of somebody to stay there. Looking at the posts, it looks like he’s been on the road for about 10 years now. He was nice enough and didn’t show any violent tendencies but is apparently struggling with some delusional thoughts. We were able to help him out as he passed through. I do wish that I had access to these posts before I had met Benjamin, perhaps it’s not the best Christian thing to say, but I probably would have worked harder to help him out if I had known more about him.

Comment added by Harlan on 10.11.20

Hi, folks; I spent some time with Benjamin on Sunday, December 13, 2020 in Elko, Nevada. My wife and I were called by an acquaintance, right after our Sunday service ended, to come over to the shop that she works at to speak with a man who was in need of attention. Apparently, he had “planted” himself on a bench outside of the store and was needing to talk to a pastor who cared.
When we arrived he was finishing off a good-sized muffin and cup of coffee. He proceeded to tell me much of what has already been discussed on this blog. He wanted me to check him out on Facebook, but I was having issues with my phone and unable to pull anything up on the internet at that moment. As a matter of fact, I just now came across this blog when I typed Ben’s name into my web browser at work; interesting. His animosity toward those dismiss him or are unwilling to provide him with what he is asking for.

Comment added by Pastor Marsh on 12.17.20

Long story made shorter; we got Benjamin set up with nice bike with various accessories; got him some grub, and put him up for a night at a local motel. I helped Benjamin because I had no cause or inclination from the Lord to do otherwise. I pray that Benjamin is able to connect with the Lord Jesus Christ in a truly personal and practical way, that he might use his wisdom and know-how to benefit others that he comes into contact with, and that he would receive the necessary help to quite “running.” He had asked me about the best roadway that would get him to California, which in our neck of the woods is I-80. He mentioned that he wanted to eventually make his way to Alaska so that he could go back to work on a fishing boat. I will continue to remember Ben in my prayers for his safety, sanity, peace, and salvation…

Comment added by Pastor Marsh on 12.17.20

I met Ben in Butte Montana. Then researched him because of his story. His story had some threads of information seeming credible. How ever the information seemed less credible and only came across as a false memory. I felt maybe in the beginning his heart was right but due to mental issues, were rewarded in every town Ben visits as he shares the sad story of supporting missing soldiers. Ben was the only benefactor. He carried nothing openly to advertise a cause. Ben was cold and in need of a sleeping bag and a dry pair of socks and $40. Ben explained each foot had had 4 toes amputated at the local hospital the day before but seemed to walk without trouble or pain. We prayed outside of the store. Ben said he was worki g his way back to cincinnati. Ben is another lost soul surviving the eelements of a cruel world. Sad.

Comment added by Tom on 01.06.24

I met Ben in Butte Montana. Then researched him because of his story. His story had some threads of information seeming credible. However, the information seemed less credible came across as a false memory. I felt maybe in the beginning his heart was right but due to mental issues, he was rewarded in every town he visits as he shares the sad story of his supporting missing soldiers. Ben was the only benefactor. He carried nothing openly to advertise a cause. Ben was cold. I gave Ben a sleeping bag, a dry pair of socks and $40. Ben explained each foot had had 4 toes amputated at the local hospital the day before, but seemed to walk without trouble or pain. We prayed outside of the store. Ben said he was working his way back to cincinnati. Ben is another lost soul surviving the elements of a cruel world. Sad.

Comment added by Tom on 01.06.24

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