If you woke up on Thursday to a weird text that seemed totally out of place, you are not alone. A mysterious wave of missives swept cellphones in the US overnight, delivering largely unintelligible messages from friends, family and the occasional ex.
Friends who had not talked to each other in months were jolted into chatting. Others briefly panicked.
The best explanation seems to be that old texts sent in the spring suddenly went through.
Two people said that they figured out the original messages were never received.
It is not clear why this months-long delay happened. Telephone companies blamed others and offered no further explanations.
Stephanie Bovee, a 28-year-old from Portland, woke up at 5am to a text from her sister that just said “omg.”
She immediately thought something had happened to her newborn nephew at the hospital.
She started calling everyone. Her sister and her sister’s husband did not answer. She woke up her mom, freaking her out. It was three hours before she learned that everything was fine and the text was an odd anomaly.
“Now it’s funny,” Bovee said. “But out of context, it was not cool.”
She figured out that people were getting some of her old texts that failed to go through after her sister and a coworker both got texts that she had sent in February. The text her sister received wished her a happy Valentine’s Day.
Mobile carriers offered unhelpful explanations for the phenomenon, which appeared to be widespread, at least according to social media.
A Sprint spokeswoman said that it resulted from a “maintenance update” for messaging platforms at multiple US carriers, but would not explain further.
T-Mobile called it a “third-party vendor issue.”
Verizon and AT&T did not answer questions.
Marissa Figueroa, a 25-year-old from California, got an unwanted message from an ex she had stopped talking to — and then he got one from her as well.
Neither actually sent them on Wednesday night, both said.
Figueroa could not figure it out, even worrying that her ex was messing with her, until she saw reports of this happening to others.
“It didn’t feel great,” she said. “It just was not good for me and my mental health to be in contact with him.”
A friend who had just re-entered his life got a mystifying message from Joseph Gomez at 5:32am on Thursday. In that text, Gomez seemed to assume she was on her way over to his house so they could order a Lyft.
It took a half-hour of back-and-forth texting and help from a screenshot to clear up the situation. Can their relationship recover?
Gomez, 22, said that it was “confusion, then awkward and then funny.”
No mixed messages there.
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