I Checked Up on My Number Neighbor in 2020

On Aug. 3 around 6:30 in the evening, I was at home cleaning the bathroom when all of a sudden my phone lit up. I hoped it was my friend telling me either that he was on his way, or (even better) apologizing because he couldn’t make it (nothing feels better than a canceled plan). However, it was neither, instead, the message came from a number I’d never seen before. 


“YOOOO number neighborrrr,” read the message.


My heart leaped out of my chest. Excitedly, I replied, “YOOO number neighbor !!! Sick !!”


I had been training for this moment. All month, people all over the Internet had been posting screenshots of themselves texting random people with numbers adjacent to theirs. Some had received positive responses, ending up with at least a heartwarming encounter or at best – an unexpected new friend. Others had received less friendly responses, which, if funny enough, could at least be posted for a viral moment.


It’s 2020 now and recently I’ve been thinking: what happened to number neighbors? My neighbor and I follow each other on our socials, but we stopped talking just days after we connected. I just find it so curious that for one month, in a phenomenal mass act-of-kindness, we all decided to make an effort to be nice to someone we had never met, and then never again. September came, the trend faded, and life was just a little less bright without the whole world sharing this one heartfelt experience together. 


I’ve never heard of that before – of everyone just doing something good just to be good. Not because there was a tragedy or an evident need for charity.