Because it's 2018 and we've all practically turned into human computers, the days of Craigslist missed connections seem like just a distant memory. But not all too long ago, there was a time when people would go to the website trying to find the people with whom they'd once ridden a train, met on the street, or had an otherwise momentary but meaningful connection.
Honestly, it was one of the most wholesome parts of the internet, before the proliferation of memes and cat videos began to take over. But these days, since the internet is everywhere and we're all permanently connected through social media, simpler times of chance reconnections have kind of lost their magic.
Or at least I thought they had, until one Brianna's search for a childhood friend went viral on Twitter. Her attempt to find this girl (without naming her!) by enlisting an online search party, their reconnection, and the internet's take on the whole thing were so good, it's almost restoring my faith in humanity.
Over the course of the long Thanksgiving weekend, Brianna was probably looking through old family photos when she stumbled upon a picture of herself and another flower-donning little girl on a cruise, with the sea in the background.
She took to social media (honestly, how else would one go about this?) to try reconnecting to rekindle their friendship. She tweeted, "Hey Twitter, I met this girl on a dinner cruise in Hawaii in 2006. We were basically best friends for that night so I need y’all to help me find my best friend cause I miss her and I need to see how she’s doing now. Please retweet this so we can be reunited."
It's possible she didn't even recall the young girl's name at this point, since she didn't reveal it in her request. Or maybe she was just trying to see how good at sleuthing Twitter really was. In any case, the social media platform did not disappoint.
Within less than 12 hours, the little girl from the photo, @heii_tree, now a college student, responded to Brianna saying she heard her friend was looking for her. She even posted a photo of herself in the dress she was wearing in Brianna's pic as proof that she's really the little girl from the cruise.
"Bruhhh it’s been literal years since I was last on Twitter and the first thing I see is a search party for my ass," she writes. I wonder whether she just happened to open the app on this very Saturday, or how she came to see the notifications alerting her to the search in the first place.
And it seems like I wasn't the only one who thought this quick reconnection was absolutely insane! One person asked, "how tf did someone alert you to check Twitter in such a short amount of time?! Like how did they recognize the child version of you?!"
She responded saying that "most of the friends" who alerted her are people she'd "known since middle school!" "I don't think I changed much in the time span between elementary and middle school, so that's why," she adds, with the crying-laughing emoji.
Apparently, ever since the two reunited online, they've been chatting up a storm on the DMs. I can't imagine having to play catch-up on so many years with someone you don't even know all that well.
@heii_tree wishes they could talk more, but she's currently "trying to finish [an] essay" for college, so she's been trying to take social media breaks throughout the day.
The thread, which amassed over a hundred thousand retweets in the past few days, has avid followers passionately checking in on these girls' every move. Many want the friends to reunite IRL to process the insanity of their online connection. But @heii_tree writes that the chances of that happening are somewhat slim right now.
She tweets that she's currently on financial aid at her community college, so the thought of traveling to meet Brianna face-to-face might have to be postponed for a while.
But the inspiring story didn't stop the internet from laughing, crying, and even trying their own luck at reconnecting with strangers from their past.
"You’ve inspired me to find my long lost vacation bestie from when I was a toddler too," writes Leslie on Twitter. Others are gushing about their success stories with finding people on Twitter. "Twitter helped me find my biological family after 18 years," shared one woman.
But because the internet is also the birthplace of trolls, a whole meme was born out of Brianna and @heii_tree's heartfelt event.
Soon, people were posting about how anyone "could get whoever you want by photoshopping them into your pic and asking Twitter to do 'their thing,'" which, I suppose, was not entirely false.
It wasn't long before people from all corners of the web joined in on the fun. Hey, if we can't marry our long-lost celebrity loves, at least we can all share a laugh, right?
Never underestimate the power of a large group of very bored people. Indeed, they're the only source of progress these days.