Their story is like a Hollywood romantic comedy. He had every reason to be angry when letters began to arrive in his mail intended for an unfamiliar woman. Instead, he fell in love with her.
Their acquaintance was not so much accidental as erroneous. She advertised in the newspaper - "The poetess is looking for other authors" - indicating her e-mail. But instead of “author45”, the newspaper printed “author54”, mixing up the numbers in places. All letters from responding writers began to come to the e-mail of Phil Sidebottom, a resident of the UK.
They were addressed to one Adele Geraghty. After receiving three letters from people unknown to him, he decided to try to contact her. Pointing at the sky, Phil swapped the numbers in the address and wrote her a letter.
“He wrote that he received three messages from unknown people and was worried that someone was using his e-mail. The letter was so polite that I couldn't help but respond to it. I wrote to the newspaper asking them to correct the typo, and I answered Phil, explaining everything to him,” says Adele.
She didn't think she'd ever hear of him again. But the next day, turning on the computer, I found a message in the Internet messenger: "Hello." A mother of six, Adele, 49, has never spoken to strangers online before. How should she answer him? But something told her that she needed to answer. And they started talking.
"At some point he asked why I didn't sleep so late. And it was only 7 pm. It was as if something clicked in me, and I wrote that I live in America, but where is he? A second later he replied - "Are you a Yankee?"
It was pretty funny, Adele recalls. They agreed to talk some more if they were online again at the same time. Even though it was hard to imagine, she couldn't stop thinking about this conversation.
The next day, while checking her mail, Adele saw a letter from Phil. He wrote that he enjoyed talking with her and would not mind doing it again.
Several days (or rather nights) in a row they talked on the Internet for 5 hours. Phil said that he was going to get a divorce, and Adele - that he was already divorced. She realized that she was starting to fall in love, when she suddenly thought that she did not know how old he was. Phil could easily be a man half her age. But he was 54 years old. Then they agreed to exchange photos.
Waiting for a message with his picture, Adele could hardly contain her excitement. In the photograph, she first saw a man with whom she was already hopelessly in love. Phil Sidebottom turned out to be an imposing man with streaked gray hair and kind eyes.
"I didn't care if he looked like Quasimodo. But, fortunately, Phil turned out to be just as I imagined him. He also liked my photo. But even then, I would not have thought that we would become husband and wife,” says Adele. They desperately tried to talk for real, but neither of them had a webcam. Phone calls across the ocean were very expensive, but Phil still called Adele and they talked for three minutes. She liked his voice and English accent. The lovers were in constant contact, despite the five-hour time difference.
"He texted me during my lunch break. At this time, I just got out of bed, and was glad that he was thinking about me. During my break from work, Phil was already returning home, and we talked a little longer,” recalls Adele.
They agreed to celebrate the New Year practically “together”. After the fireworks in the UK, they continued to correspond until the New Year arrived in the US. Relatives called Adele on the street, but she wanted to spend New Year's Eve with Phil.
Nothing could interfere with their correspondence. When Phil's computer broke, he immediately went to the store to get a new one. When Adele broke her arm, she continued to type messages with one hand.
When Phil woke up in the hospital, the first thing he did was ask Adele to write.
"I've never been as happy as I was when I received this letter," she admits.
Then Adele plucked up the courage to confess her feelings:
“I wrote that I always wanted to visit England. And that, it seems, fell in love with him. But I understand that we are in different hemispheres, so it's just ridiculous. But in response, he wrote that he felt the same way!”
Adele bought a plane ticket and Phil promised to take care of the rest. Her daughter reacted to this as a big adventure, and her son decided that her mother had gone crazy and fell in love with an unreal person. But for her, Phil was more than real. She flew to England exactly one year after they started corresponding.
"I wasn't nervous at all, feeling like I knew this person. When I saw Phil at the airport, he seemed to me as handsome as in the photo. And he rushed to hug me, repeating "You really exist!" They spent a month together, traveling around Wales and the western part of the country for two weeks, and when they returned, they settled in Phil's house.
"It was the best 4 weeks of my life," says Adele. "By my departure, we agreed that in a few months I would fly again."
Back in New York, Adele realized she missed Phil. They continued to correspond every day, and for the next three years she visited England regularly. Phil is afraid of flying, so he couldn't visit her. But in one of their meetings, he made an official proposal to Adele.
"I said yes before he even finished the question," the woman laughs. "I wanted to spend my whole life with him, not just computer nights."
In New York, she packed all her things, took a cat and three dogs, and returned back. They got married in 2007 with blessings from all their families.
"My kids realized that Phil made me happy. And it continues to this day. He is my best friend and I love him very much. Not a day goes by that I don't thank that typo in the paper that introduced us."