Here’s a lesson in why it’s not always necessary to think before tweeting!
In November 2012, Victoria Carlin tweeted that she was in love with whoever ran a London bookstore’s Twitter account.
“I think it was probably wine that inspired that,” Carlin tells PEOPLE of her impulsive tweet. “Maybe prosecco. I genuinely didn’t think [anyone] would read it.”
“I didn’t know at that stage who ran the account, if it was a person, team or an agency, so I didn’t really think about it properly – I’m glad I didn’t!” she continues.
Luckily for Carlin, it was a young man named Jonathan O’Brien who ran the account, and nearly four years after she sent out the tweet, she and O’Brien were married.
Carlin says she was so taken with O’Brien’s tweets for a Waterstones bookshop on Oxford Street in London because, “Jonathan created a little world that was off kilter and [his tweets] made me laugh in public spaces.”
Unfortunately for Carlin, O’Brien’s tweets were so charming that she was far from the first person to send the bookshop a declaration of love.
“I used to get a fair few marriage proposals or declarations of love and, treating the entire thing weirdly professionally for a man in his mid-20s getting propositioned regularly, I used to have a series of stock responses – ‘Sorry, I am already married to the books’ – that sort of thing,” O’Brien explains.
Unlike those who came before her, Carlin was one book-loving girl who could not be brushed off so easily. So, she followed O’Brien’s personal account on Twitter and began retweeting and liking his best tweets.
This love story could have ended before it began if a friend of Carlin’s hadn’t also announced her love for the account. Carlin responded to her friend calling the venture “pointless” and unintentionally implied that she and O’Brien had been on a date – that got O’Brien’s attention.
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“It was only when Victoria accidentally implied we’d already been on a date that I got in touch to find out what she was talking about,” he explains.
“He quickly jumped in to clarify that we hadn’t, so I said that we should!” Carlin adds.
A few months later, Carlin was on a break from touring as a circus performer and saw that O’Brien had tweeted about a craving for donuts.
“I had a spare few hours, I knew where the donut store was, so I grabbed a box and stormed to the bookstore,” Carlin says.
“I ran upstairs, waited in line and presented the box to a very shocked Jonathan, all the adrenaline fell out of me and I mumbled, ‘Errr, here you go…’ Then pretty much ran away!” she continues.
After the donut drop, O’Brien sent Carlin a message to say thanks and few weeks later, he asked her to lunch.
The couple’s first date was “absolutely fantastic!” Carlin says. “I knew he was going to make me laugh so it was the most pressure-free date I had ever been on! It was perfect!”
Because the two had both ended relationships recently, Carlin says she would sure theirs would be a brief and casual romance.
“I was due to go work in Australia for quite awhile and didn’t expect to stay in touch,” she says. “While I was out there, I caught pneumonia and ended up in the hospital, I think I started to realize something was a bit special by the way he reassured me. He was just amazing.”
The couple soon realized that although they had little in common, they simply couldn’t stop talking.
“Even after three years, we still text each other throughout the day and try to find time to talk briefly during our lunch breaks,” O’Brien says.
On July 8, Carlin and O’Brien were married. And Carlin was eager to share her love story’s happy ending right where it began – on Twitter.
The couple’s good news quickly spread around the globe, making international headlines and giving Waterstones’ new Twitter manager a great opportunity to (try to) begin his own love story.
The response has been “just unbelievable,” O’Brien says.
“It’s been very nice being the current good news story in a year that’s not exactly been the most fun,” he continues. “Also, we’ll get to tell our eventual children about the time their parents’ wedding made international news. That’ll be funny.”