THIS STORY BEGINS LAST MONTH...
I was sitting on my couch in the living room looking at my photo stream, you know, looking for something to Instagram. That's when I noticed a bunch of pictures I hadn't taken. Like, a lot of them. They were mostly of this man taking selfies with an orange tree. To be honest, it was pretty funny but also fucking terrifying because I didn't take the pictures.
WHO IS THIS MAN AND WHY ARE HIS PICTURES SHOWING UP ON MY PHONE?
For the next month, more pictures kept on showing up in my stream. It was pretty weird but I got used to it. It was exciting going into my photo stream and seeing what he had done that day.
It was like our ~clouds~ crossed and he was my long-lost brother or other dimension partner in crime. It was cool.
And then I found out what was really happening.
I was talking to a friend of mine about Orange Man's pictures showing up on my phone. He asked me if my phone was stolen recently. It was. Not recently, though. My phone was stolen OVER A YEAR AGO from a bar in the East Village.
My friend said most stolen iPhones end up in China.
My stolen iPhone ended up in China.
I went to the Apple Store and, sure enough, there was my old iPhone on the iCloud. Orange Man's pictures were showing up in my stream because my iCloud was still connected.
I deleted the phone and that was it.
Then the story spread to China.
I wrote this article for BuzzFeed and then I started getting TONS of tweets from people in China.
They were helping me find Orange Man.
Chinese Netizens, as they call themselves, had found my BuzzFeed story, translated it, and put it on the Chinese version of Twitter, Weibo.
It was blowing up.
They pretty quickly found where the pictures were taken.
That's right here:
More specifically, they found the city.
That's it right here:
But they still couldn't find him.
They kept trying.
My favorite messages were people saying how romantic the story was. They said it was like a fairy tale and perfect for the Chinese Spring Festival.
Other people said he was my long lost brother.
It was seriously overwhelming.
Someone even offered to buy him a new phone!
Then they found him.
They posted a picture of my phone. THIS IS MY PHONE! THAT IS (BASICALLY*) MY NUMBER!
*That's not exactly my number. It's a couple digits off but same area code and everything. It has to be it.