NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One year and two continents later, two strangers become life-long friends, meeting for the first time in China.
CBS2 first told you about Matt Stopera’s story in February. He lost his iPhone in New York City in January of 2014. A year later, while scrolling through his pictures on his new phone, he saw a man he didn’t know posing in front of what appeared to be orange trees.
“Who is this man and why are his pictures showing up in my phone?” Stopera said.
Turns out, he wasn’t hacked. But someone, a 30-year-old restaurant owner named Li, now had received the phone as a gift and did what most of us do with our cell phones: he took a lot of pictures, CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported.
Those pictures automatically uploaded to Stopera’s new phone and as an editor for Buzzfeed, he decided to write about it.
“I got all of these tweets from people in China saying ‘hey, we’re going to help you find orange man,'” he said.
And sure enough, they tracked down Li.
“I was shocked,” Li said. “My nephew called and told me my photos are all over the Internet!”
Their story got a lot of attention online and Li invited Stopera to visit.
“To meet this man right here…my brother, Brother Orange. It’s amazing,” said Stopera.
And of course, they took plenty of pictures; this time together.
“It’s not over. Brother Orange has to visit me now,” Stopera said.
Experts say it’s not uncommon for stolen or lost iPhones to make their way from the United States to countries overseas where the demand for them is high.
Many smart phones now have kill switches, which allows owners to lock and make the phones useless if ever stolen or lost.