Accidental text between strangers leads to lifelong friendship

Text sent to wrong person gets a reaction from around the world on social media. (WPDE/Liz Cooper)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - Have you ever accidentally sent a text message to the wrong person? Usually, that person responds: "Hey, wrong number" or "Who's this?"

But a recent graduate of Coastal Carolina University got a response back from a complete stranger that's not only inspiring him but also bringing a smile to the faces of people around the world.

"There really is good people out there," said Justin Campbell, who graduated from CCU last Friday.

Campbell received a text back from Roger Hawkins, who lives in Columbia, South Carolina. Campbell says Hawkins' number just happened to be one digit off from his friend's.

"So, like 10 minutes went by and he was like, 'Picture didn't come yet?'" explained Campbell. "I was like, 'Yeah, it was sent.' He's like, 'Oh no, you got to put a 7 instead of 6.'"

Instead of brushing off the stray message, Hawkins sent back a selfie, a congratulations and a link to motivational speeches. Hawkins says it's a playlist he listens to quite often now and it's become quite meaningful to him.

"It's really genuine what he did. It's a great gesture," said Campbell.

After some convincing by his friends, Campbell decided to share the response on social media.

After three days, as of Tuesday afternoon, Campbell's post had more than 32,000 retweets and almost 95,000 likes.

"The second day there was a guy that tweeted me all the way from the Netherlands. I'm like, 'What?'" said Campbell. "There were people who wrote in a different language from different countries."

After only speaking via social media since the conversation went viral, Campbell and Hawkins finally met face to face for the first time Tuesday.

They spoke like old friends through a FaceTime call.

"I feel like it touched people's lives when they say, 'Wow, my faith in humanity is restored,' or, 'There's really great people in the world,'" said Campbell to Hawkins about the post.

Hawkins and Campbell say they're surprised by the amount of attention the post is getting. They both believe there's a lot of good in the world, and they are not sure why a kind gesture surprises everyone so much.

But, they say they're glad it's inspiring so many people. The spotlight is not only changing people's lives around the world but theirs, too.

"I don't see how it couldn't," said Hawkins. "In my lifetime I've had some highs, I've had some really low lows, some very high highs, and life keeps going."

None of this hype should be surprising for Campbell, who said he is from Hollywood, South Carolina.

"They're like, 'This is big,' and I'm like, 'I don't really think it's that big, I didn't really do nothing,'" said Campbell.

And, when you're at the center of a viral sensation, does it really matter that Campbell's from the town of Hollywood in South Carolina, not California?

Campbell and Hawkins say they'll continue to stay in contact even after the attention fades.

Asked for one final bit of encouragement, Hawkins' piece of advice for those going through hardships is to remember that "it's only temporary."

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