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This Is How A Stolen Phone Connected Two People In Different Countries Who Became Friends

This Is How A Stolen Phone Connected Two People In Different Countries Who Became Friends

If you have ever had your iPhone stolen, you try to get over your anger, buy a new one and move on. Read on, because I am going to tell you how the guy who had his phone stolen became famous overnight in China. The power of viral messages on the Internet will amaze you.

It all started when….

Matt Stopera, who works at Buzz Feed, went to his normal after work drink spot to unwind about a year ago in East Village, New York. Unfortunately, his iPhone was stolen. Matt got over it and bought a new iPhone. However, he forgot to do one little administrative task,  which was to have extraordinary consequences.

One day, something strange happened…

Months passed and Matt had almost forgotten the unpleasant incident. But, while looking for photos to put on Instagram a month ago, he suddenly noticed rather unusual and strange photos in his photo stream. There were a lot of photos of a guy standing in front of an orange tree! He had no idea who this guy was. How on earth did those photos get on his iPhone stream? There were also photos of shops, fireworks and buildings he did not recognize.

He decided to tweet a message about this as it was so strange:

“Um, I just looked at my phone’s photo stream and it’s full of pics of some guy and an orange tree I def didn’t take.”

He soon realized that these photos were taken somewhere in the Far East. Could it be that his iPhone, like so many others, had ended up in China?

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As this was the time The Interview film had been released, maybe there was a North Korean gremlin in the works or could it be a sign?

Whatever the explanation, Matt was able to watch his new iPhone’s owner’s life as it unfolded. He was hooked.

Then, it suddenly dawned on him that he had not disabled his iCloud drive on the stolen phone. That was easily fixed, and he thought that was that, because his new orange tree friend would no longer be able to access the iCloud account. It was over and he had learned his lesson.

The story goes viral.

Matt was astonished to learn that the whole episode which had started with one little tweet about a banal incident had suddenly gone viral on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. The Chinese netizens were already on the job.

“ur story is very famous in China now, it has been reposted for more than 10,000 times on weibo(Chinese Twitter) in one hour.”

What was even more astonishing was that the Chinese social media crowd using Weibo were determined to find out who the man in front of the orange tree was and they would stop at nothing.

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“wish u can find him:).ur story are sooo famous in China that all of my friends have known u and the orange tree guy,lol.”

The orange tree man was soon tracked down

“The guy is from Guangdong province, China, we Chinese are helping you look for him on the Internet lol.”

People were putting a romantic twist on the story which amused Matt no end. It seemed to be the perfect story to match the time of the year, The Spring Festival.

The orange tree guy is found!

Then messages started to appear on Matt’s Twitter account saying that the guy had been tracked down and he too was becoming famous.

“Hey bro! The orange tree brother was found!”

As proof, a photo of Matt’s stolen iPhone was posted. The number was slightly different but it was definitely his phone. It was the orange tree man’s nephew who had spotted all the orange trees. Then a guy from Weibo, called Justin, offered to help Matt get in touch with his new friend

“Hey Matt this is Justin from Weibo. We might have found orange guy in China. And now we are trying to contact with this guy.”

A happy ending?

The guy’s nephew was trying persuade his uncle to set up a Weibo account while Justin asked Matt to do the same. They would then be able to exchange messages, at last!

Matt’s first message was:

“Hello everyone! Thank you so much for helping me to find my phone and Bro Orange! This has been such a great journey and only possible because of all of you. It’s a dream of mine to visit China and hopefully get to see Bro Orange and see your country.”

There are thousands and thousands of messages on Matt’s thread and the story has really become viral in that 30 million people in China have read about it! Matt himself is on Weibo’s trending topics.

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Apart from the fame, the best news of all, is that Bro Orange has now extended an invitation to Matt to come and visit him in China:

“Matt, you are welcome to come to our country and we welcome you to our guest house big Meizhou and enjoy our family out-of Hakka cuisine.”

Matt is now setting up his trip and is amazed at the generous offers from the Chinese citizens offering their services as guides and translators. It will be interesting to see how it all works out. Watch this space!

Featured photo credit: iPhone again/ Kenny Louie via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on December 16, 2018

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

We all look for a better and happier life, but somehow we realize it’s our attitude that makes it hard to lead the life we want. How can we build a positive attitude? Grant Mathews has listed out the things (from the easiest to the hardest) we can do to cultivate this attitude on Quora:

1. Listen to good music.

Music definitely improves your mood, and it’s a really simple thing to do.

2. Don’t watch television passively.

Studies have shown that people who watch TV less are happier, which leads me to my next point…

3. Don’t do anything passively.

Whenever I do something, I like to ask myself if, at the end of the day, I would be content saying that I had spent time doing it. (This is why I block sites I find myself wasting too much time on. I enjoy them, but they’re just not worth it when I could be learning something new, or working on projects I care about.)

Time is incredibly valuable.

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4. Be aware of negativity

A community that considers itself intelligent tends to be negativity because criticizing is seen as a signaling mechanism to indicate that you’re more intelligent than the person you corrected. This was irrationally frustrating for me – it’s one of those things you’ll stay up all night to think about.

5. Make time to be alone.

I initially said “take time just to be alone.” I changed it because if you don’t ensure you can take a break, you’ll surely be interrupted.

Being with other people is something you can do to make you happy, but I don’t include it in this list because nearly everyone finds time to talk with friends. On the other hand, spending time just with yourself is almost considered a taboo.

Take some time to figure out who you are.

6. Exercise.

This is the best way to improve your immediate happiness.

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Exercise probably makes you happy. Try and go on a run. You’ll hate yourself while doing it, but the gratification that you get towards the end vastly outweighs the frustration of the first few attempts. I can’t say enough good things about exercise.

Exercising is also fantastic because it gives you time alone.

7. Have projects.

Having a goal, and moving towards it, is a key to happiness.

You have to realize though that achieving the goal is not necessarily what makes you happy – it’s the process. When I write music, I write it because writing is inherently enjoyable, not because I want to get popular (as if!).

8. Take time to do the things you enjoy.

That’s very general, so let me give you a good example.

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One of the things that has really changed my life was finding small communities centered around activities I enjoy. For instance, I like writing music, so I’m part of a community that meets up to write a song for an hour every week. I love the community. I’ve also written a song every week, 37 weeks in a row, which has gradually moved me towards larger goals and makes me feel very satisfied.

9. Change your definition of happiness.

Another reason I think I’m more happy than other people is because my definition of happiness is a lot more relaxed than most people’s. I don’t seek for some sort of constant euphoria; I don’t think it’s possible to live like that. My happiness is closer to stability.

10. Ignore things that don’t make you happy.

I get varying reactions to this one.

The argument goes “if something is making you unhappy, then you should find out why and improve it, not ignore it.” If you can do that, great. But on the other hand, there’s no reason to mope about a bad score on a test.

There’s another counterargument: perhaps you’re moping because your brain is trying to work out how to improve. In fact, this is the key purpose of depression: Depression’s Upside – NYTimes.com

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I can think of examples that go both ways. I remember, for instance, when I was debating a year or two ago and my partner and I would lose a round, I would mull over what we had done wrong for a long time. In that way, I got immensely better at debate (and public speaking in general – did you know debate has amazing effects on your public speaking ability? But now I really digress).

On the other hand, there’s no way that mulling over how dumb you were for missing that +x term on the left hand side will make you better at math. So stop worrying about it, and go practice math instead.

11. Find a way to measure your progress, and then measure it.

Video games are addictive for a reason: filling up an experience bar and making it to the next level is immensely satisfying. I think that it would be really cool if we could apply this concept to the real world.

I put this near the bottom of the list because, unfortunately, this hasn’t been done too often in the real world – startup idea, anyone? So you would have to do it yourself, which is difficult when you don’t even know how much you’ve progressed.

For a while, I kept a log of the runs I had taken, and my average speed. It was really cool to see my improvement over the weeks. (Also, I was exercising. Combining the two was fantastic for boosting happiness.)

12. Realize that happiness is an evolutionary reward, not an objective truth.

It’s easy to see that this is correct, but this is at the bottom of the list for a reason.

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