The story of a guy in New York City who had his iPhone stolen last year has become semi-famous on Chinese social media thanks to one man in Guangdong province who’s become known to web users only as “Orange Brother”.
Matt Stopera said his phone was taken from a bar in the East Village last February, according to a post on BuzzFeed. He’d gotten a new phone and carried on with his life, as one does. It wasn’t until this past January, however, that he was going through his photo stream and noticed tons of images that weren’t his, including several pictures of an unknown man posing next to an orange tree. More photos of food menus, fireworks and Avril Lavigne kept appearing in his photo stream in the following days.
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. pic.twitter.com/s8srj6HCga
— Matt Stopera (@mattstopera) February 5, 2015
Stopera later learned that his phone, stolen almost a year ago, had ended up in China and that the new owner was still logged into his iCloud account.
After Stopera wrote about the cross-seas connection on BuzzFeed, a web user translated it and posted it to Weibo, where it soon after went viral. He started getting tons of tweets from people in China about the story. Apparently, they thought it was romantic like a fairy tale and perfect for the spirit of Spring Festival.
In typical Chinese netizen-fashion, they were able to track down the location of Orange Brother. He lived in Meizhou, Guangdong province. Orange Brother’s nephew soon after heard about the story and went online to post that his uncle was indeed the new owner of Stopera’s phone.
— Eileen Huang (@EileenHuang0804) February 22, 2015
Web users loved this, and urged Stopera to come to China and connect with his ‘long-lost brother’.
On February 21, Stopera created his own Weibo account to write a statement of sorts to all the netizens who’d helped him track down Orange Brother. The post now has over 27,000 likes and has racked up almost 8,000 comments.
Hello everyone! Thank you so much for helping me 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 I will get to meet Bro Orange and see your country!
Afterwards, Orange Brother took to Weibo to formally invite Stopera to his hometown to indulge in some local Hakka cuisine. He even made a video.
Stopera is now seriously trying to come to visit his cloud brother, according to his posts on Weibo.
Anyways, we’ll keep you updated on further developments of this most crucial story as they come trough. Here’s Stopera on CNN: