When a 102-year-old Renton woman accidentally sent an email to the wrong person, she ended up with a new pen pal and being featured in a Buzzfeed video.
Beatrice “Bea” Mathewson has lived in Renton since 1939. She remembers when the downtown Fred Meyer was a dairy farm and the surrounding shopping center was covered with blackberries and maple trees. She remembers the Black River running through the uncommercialized landscape. She remembers the restrictions that were placed on residents during World War II and seeing the influx of residents relocating to Renton after the war.
When Bea first moved to Renton at the dawn of the 40s, the population was around 4,100.
“You knew everyone in town and met people in post offices,” she said.
Back then, everyone knew their neighbors, a phenomenon she rarely sees these days.
“It’s totally different. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but it’s different,” she said. “Change happens and you have to adjust. You don’t really realize how it’s changed until you look back.”
While Bea might have crossed the century line, she’s learned to adapt with the 21st century. From her first phone number that had merely four numbers to now regularly emailing her friends and family, Bea has seen the evolution of technology over the years.
The digital age, she noted, has changed the culture of how people, especially the youth, communicate with each other.
Recently she learned that technology can bring people together in mysterious ways. Thanks to the internet, she was able to connect with two millennials who have now become life-long friends.
THE TALE OF TWO JORDANS
One fateful day, Bea attempted to send an email to a distant 23-year-old cousin in Canada named Jordan Imbery. The two met each other through Ancestory.com and quickly became pen pals. Bea, who meant to update her new pen pal on her book club and the flowers that were blooming in her garden, hit send to an email that never found its way to Jordan.
Due to an easy mistake of switching the “r” and the “e” in the email address, the message made it to the inbox of Jordan Imbrey, a 26-year-old video producer at Buzzfeed.
The Buzzfeed Jordan kindly responded to Bea and told her he wasn’t the intended recipient.
But Bea made the same mistake again. And again.
“To (whoever) Jordan….I’m not sure I’ll ever get you sorted out,” Bea wrote to the Jordan at Buzzfeed after multiple failed emails. “My 101 years has caught up with me.”
The Jordan from Buzzfeed found Bea endearing and the two became fast friends and faithful pen pals.
After some good-old-fashioned internet stalking, the Jordan of Buzzfeed found the intended recipient of Bea’s email — the Jordan from Canada.
The two Jordans concocted a plan to visit Bea, spend the day with her, go to her book club and transform their digital relationship into an IRL (in real life) one.
Last year, the fateful meeting occurred. The story was captured on film and recently published on Buzzfeed in a video titled, “I Made Friends With A 102-Year-Old Woman By Accident.”
The meeting made a deep impression on all three of the pen pals.
After meeting her in real life, the Jordan from Canada said he was inspired to “always look for the positives in everything.”
“Bea’s positivity is something you notice right away about her,” he wrote in an email.
He also said he was surprised how sharp Bea’s memory was.
“It was amazing how she was able to recite everything we had talked about over the past year,” he wrote.
“I can’t impress upon enough people how nice they both are,” Bea said. “Even the crew they brought with them, it was like having family all day. They’re just really nice people. Super nice.”
“All the internet is a tool that connects us,” said Jordan from Buzzfeed in the video. “It can connect us in bad ways, but it can also connect us in beautiful ways.”
Bea, who affectionately calls the two Jordans California Jordan and Canada Jordan, said she still keeps in touch with both of them regularly.
To see the full video, visit http://bit.ly/BeaOnBuzzfeed.