How I Became A Minor Celebrity In China (After My Stolen Phone Ended Up There)

This really weird thing happened to my phone and an even weirder thing happened after. A continuation of: Who Is This Man And Why Are His Photos Showing Up On My Phone. Updated on March 18. Bro Orange and I are hanging out RIGHT NOW!

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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.

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.

@mattstopera your story is famous in China…

Thomas Meng@826630167Follow

@mattstopera your story is famous in China…

6:10 AM - 20 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

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.

@mattstopera 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

Bisia@OORer@bisia_0414Follow

@mattstopera 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

12:56 PM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera Now all Chinese know your story. We are helping you. 真牛逼。大家快来留言啊,占领推特

zhangsan@hanmoniousFollow

@mattstopera Now all Chinese know your story. We are helping you. 真牛逼。大家快来留言啊,占领推特

8:08 PM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera man I'm Chinese and in our country we r trying to find this man. You r famous in China now😂😂

lifeissuck@ZQinZFollow

@mattstopera man I'm Chinese and in our country we r trying to find this man. You r famous in China now

8:19 AM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera my friends and I are making an effort to find the orange tree guy

郭图南@2369676813Follow

@mattstopera my friends and I are making an effort to find the orange tree guy

9:14 PM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

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.

@mattstopera Your story has been retweeted on Weibo for almost 49,000 times now :) people are always moved by the story of true love

Yule Wang@yule_wangFollow

@mattstopera Your story has been retweeted on Weibo for almost 49,000 times now :) people are always moved by the story of true love

11:24 PM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera ur story is very famous in China now,it has been reposted for more than 10000 times on weibo(Chinese Twitter) in one hour。

tmacshadow@tmacshadowFollow

@mattstopera ur story is very famous in China now,it has been reposted for more than 10000 times on weibo(Chinese Twitter) in one hour。

9:32 AM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera buddy,u story are really famous on weibo now.😂😂

Tailes-tong@taylor52418628Follow

@mattstopera buddy,u story are really famous on weibo now.

9:00 AM - 20 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

They pretty quickly found where the pictures were taken.

@mattstopera The guy is from Guangdong China, we Chinese are helping you look for him on the Internet lol

DFY@DFY9Follow

@mattstopera The guy is from Guangdong China, we Chinese are helping you look for him on the Internet lol

9:17 AM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

More specifically, they found the city.

@mattstopera hey buddy,I think the orange guy is in my city XD.In Meizhou,Guangdong province.

Randall@Randall27103092Follow

@mattstopera hey buddy,I think the orange guy is in my city XD.In Meizhou,Guangdong province.

2:24 PM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

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.

@mattstopera abosolutely hot in China😂😂 romantic story

陳柳羽同學@MapleRainyFollow

@mattstopera abosolutely hot in China romantic story

1:00 PM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera its famous and romantic during our spring festival lol

JohnHans@JohnHanssFollow

@mattstopera its famous and romantic during our spring festival lol

6:55 AM - 20 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera this is the best news I head ever during spring festival lol how romantic it is

tryyyyy@tanruiyi1Follow

@mattstopera this is the best news I head ever during spring festival lol how romantic it is

2:19 PM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Other people said he was my long lost brother.

@mattstopera he's definitely your long lost brother.

♕@vickycyqFollow

@mattstopera he's definitely your long lost brother.

11:57 PM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

It was seriously overwhelming.

@mattstopera i saw ur pix of Twitter on weibo,come here to see what happened.wow,dude,ur r cool....hahaha2333333

echo@ech0_zhaoFollow

@mattstopera i saw ur pix of Twitter on weibo,come here to see what happened.wow,dude,ur r cool....hahaha2333333

12:51 PM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera Your lost phone adventure is going viral on Chinese social media lol! Keep us updated on the story!

Yazhou Sun@yazhousFollow

@mattstopera Your lost phone adventure is going viral on Chinese social media lol! Keep us updated on the story!

11:28 PM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera hahahahahahahahahaha can't stop laughing! U r famous now dude! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Alex Lu@alexlllllluFollow

@mattstopera hahahahahahahahahaha can't stop laughing! U r famous now dude! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

11:49 PM - 19 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Someone even offered to buy him a new phone!

@mattstopera hey guy,we found the orange guy.

momoko@Shirleylee97Follow

@mattstopera hey guy,we found the orange guy.

5:15 AM - 20 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera 小哥!!橘子哥找到啦!!! Hey bro!The orange tree brother was found!

象你妹@tnahpeleeeeEFollow

@mattstopera 小哥!!橘子哥找到啦!!!
Hey bro!The orange tree brother was found!

5:03 AM - 20 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera weve found him 4 u and it seems 2 be a perfect start of a great romance story😂😂😂👏👏👏

懒Lan@lanlan1998_Follow

@mattstopera weve found him 4 u and it seems 2 be a perfect start of a great romance story

8:13 AM - 20 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera somebody found him today! #internetpower

fzk@fzkhelloFollow

@mattstopera somebody found him today! #internetpower

4:44 AM - 20 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

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.

Apparently Orange Man's nephew heard about the story and posted pictures of my phone and pictures of his uncle on Weibo.

@mattstopera we find him!!the orange tree guy,haha,Internet is amazing,maybe someone will help you contact him.

tmacshadow@tmacshadowFollow

@mattstopera we find him!!the orange tree guy,haha,Internet is amazing,maybe someone will help you contact him.

2:55 AM - 20 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Orange Man and my phone have been found, and now they're trying to set us up.

@mattstopera Hi I am the blogger who wrote your story on ‘Chinese Twitter'. We just found him! wanna get in touch?

grasszhang@grasszhangFollow

@mattstopera Hi I am the blogger who wrote your story on ‘Chinese Twitter'. We just found him! wanna get in touch?

4:42 AM - 20 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Someone who works for Weibo named Justin reached out to me.

@mattstopera 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.

Justin CHEN@chenzhj14Follow

@mattstopera 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.

5:20 AM - 20 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera people On Weibo are really interested in this story. And I wonder if there is a chance that you may log in a Weibo account

Justin CHEN@chenzhj14Follow

@mattstopera people On Weibo are really interested in this story. And I wonder if there is a chance that you may log in a Weibo account

5:24 AM - 20 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera so that you and orange tree guy may talk with each other directly. You know it's not easy to access to Twitter in China

Justin CHEN@chenzhj14Follow

@mattstopera so that you and orange tree guy may talk with each other directly. You know it's not easy to access to Twitter in China

5:26 AM - 20 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

We started messaging with each other and that's when I really found out Orange Man's deal.

And that's where we're at. We're literally on opposite sides of the world, so when he's awake, I'm sleeping. We'll see how this plays out.

Things are getting crazier and more real.

@mattstopera do you know?you are the most popular person of chinese.welcome to china。i am in sanya,hainan。

海传奇@kcuffreeFollow

@mattstopera do you know?you are the most popular person of chinese.welcome to china。i am in sanya,hainan。

8:35 AM - 22 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera you might be the most famous foreigner in China at this Chinese new year!你有可能是这个春节在中国最出名的外国人了!

臧柳升@ZangLiushengFollow

@mattstopera you might be the most famous foreigner in China at this Chinese new year!你有可能是这个春节在中国最出名的外国人了!

3:41 AM - 22 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera hey you are so famous in China right now.Came here to see ya 😝😝😝😝😝you are so funny

LilyChow-@435446921Follow

@mattstopera hey you are so famous in China right now.Came here to see ya you are so funny

2:58 AM - 22 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Over 30 MILLION PEOPLE have read the story!

@mattstopera over 30623000 Chinese people have read the story,it become the top news!

Ariana Chang@arianachang2Follow

@mattstopera over 30623000 Chinese people have read the story,it become the top news!

2:21 AM - 22 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

And at one point, my name was No. 1 on Weibo's trending topics.

@mattstopera Ahahahas right after u tweeted on WB, yr name is now trending at no. 1 outta top 100 hot search ranking!

TaraQin@TaraQinFollow

@mattstopera Ahahahas right after u tweeted on WB, yr name is now trending at no. 1 outta top 100 hot search ranking!

12:15 AM - 22 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

It was being searched more than any other thing.

And then this happened: Your username became the most searched word on Weibo right now. (110, 000 times) @mattstopera

Lost Glories@lostgloriesFollow

And then this happened: Your username became the most searched word on Weibo right now. (110, 000 times) @mattstopera

11:17 PM - 21 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

People from all over China are offering to be my tour guides and translators.

@mattstopera It's a dramatic stroy happens to you,Now eveyone in my hometown knows it and wellcome you to visit my hometown MeiZhou.

MingKwan@mingkwan89Follow

@mattstopera It's a dramatic stroy happens to you,Now eveyone in my hometown knows it and wellcome you to visit my hometown MeiZhou.

6:26 AM - 22 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera hey i learned about ur story and it was awesome!! Do come to Shanghai when you visit China plz

LeoLun@leorock199Follow

@mattstopera hey i learned about ur story and it was awesome!! Do come to Shanghai when you visit China plz

2:06 AM - 22 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@mattstopera Welcome to Meizhou.I think I can teach u hakka .What do u think?

kiseki@Z520500618Follow

@mattstopera Welcome to Meizhou.I think I can teach u hakka .What do u think?

6:42 AM - 22 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

While some others are also just tweeting emoji oranges at me (lol).

@mattstopera 🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊

There are even pictures of Bro Orange looking at my Weibo page!

@mattstopera hi Matt !!!Bro Orange is reading your message now, although it's hard for him to understand English!!🍊😉

Eileen Huang@EileenHuang0804Follow

@mattstopera hi Matt !!!Bro Orange is reading your message now, although it's hard for him to understand English!!

12:03 AM - 22 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Speaking of Bro Orange, I'm one step closer to going to China and actually meeting him. THIS IS HAPPENING.

This is really fun.

Everyone on Weibo keeps on giving me these side-eyeing Shiba Inu emojis. I love all my Chinese fans!

Matt Stopera@mattstoperaFollow

Everyone on Weibo keeps on giving me these side-eyeing Shiba Inu emojis. I love all my Chinese fans!

5:05 PM - 23 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

The story has been read over 60 million times on Chinese social media.

And everything is still completely insane.

Coming soon: "Brother Orange", a tale of two men and one cloud. @mattstopera #brotherorange http://t.co/tqC4LCHdom

Ash Oat@taoofoatFollow

Coming soon: "Brother Orange", a tale of two men and one cloud. @mattstopera #brotherorange http://t.co/tqC4LCHdom

10:29 PM - 22 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

It's truly ~bridging boundaries~

In order to better communicate with @mattstopera and other foreigners,I must work hard to learn English…

嘟嘟是个好姑娘@1332115294KingFollow

In order to better communicate with @mattstopera and other foreigners,I must work hard to learn English…

1:36 PM - 24 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

The comments on Weibo have been hilarious and great. I've been getting thousands of new followers every day. It's insane.

In even bigger news, I've almost finished planning my trip to meet Bro Orange.

Bro Orange responded with a video wishing me a happy new year. He said the Chinese Lantern Festival would be the perfect time to visit. That's on March 5.

Me and Bro Orange will meet on March 18 in Meizhou, China.

I finally made it and it is crazy. EVERYONE showed up at the airport to meet me.

Basically, now I know what it feels like to be Kim K at LAX with Kanye and Northwest. AKLJSDFJKL;ASF;

On my first day here, Bro Orange and I went everywhere together.

Day 1 of my Chinese press tour complete lol.

We took a mud bath together (obvs).

Everyone was pretty into it.

Just took a mud bath with Bro Orange and like 20 cameras watching us lol

And we planted a tree together.

Literally people taking pictures of me + Bro Orange shoveling lmao.