A first-year student at the University of Calgary in Canada simply wanted to get in contact with a woman he met at a bar, but what he got was much more than he bargained for.
Carlos Zetina bonded with a fellow student named Nicole and helped her and her friend get home Thursday night. And when it came time to exchange numbers, she gave him the wrong one. It could have been the old “give-him-the-wrong-number” blow-off, but Zetina wasn’t worried.
Determined to contact this mysterious woman whose last name he did not get, he went through the entire campus directory the next day and emailed everyone with the name Nicole or something like it, including Nicolettes and Nicks.
The ambitious and thorough student emailed 247 people, including professors, deans, and students.
The subject read, “Met you last night and you gave me the wrong number.” He began the “mass email” by letting Nicole off the hook if she just didn’t want to talk to him. But in case she did, he provided further identifying details, “you’re from Holland and you think Nietzsche is depressing,” and his phone number.
Of the 247 people on that email, many of them shared it on social media, and the hashtag #NicoleFromLastNight was born.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) September 10, 2018
"He went through all that to find this girl named Nicole I guess."
I mean, we've all been through a reply-all email saga or two but this really takes the cake.
— Anis Robert Heydari (@BetamaxRob) September 10, 2018
Then the responses started rolling in.
“I thought it was spam at first,” Nicole DuGraye tells Yahoo Lifestyle. She was at work when she got the email, and her phone “would not stop going off.”
Unfortunately for Zetina, the “original” Nicole was not on this chain. But that didn’t stop “the other Nicoles” from talking.
“It took off right away, and Carlos was almost immediately removed from the chain and it was just the Nicoles,” the University of Calgary undergrad says. And this is how a new girl gang, or the “Network of Nicoles,” was formed. “It was 200 emails long by the end of the day,” DuGraye says.
Nicolette Riley discovered the chain later on. “I was excited by it, I thought it was super funny,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Everyone was being really lighthearted about it. I thought his original email was really quite genuine,” she says.
Both women said at first the conversation consisted only of jokes, but a bond quickly formed. “I loved all the jokes that were coming through at first, and then it turned into this great Nicole experience,” Riley recalls. “A lot of it was, ‘Will the real Nicole please stand up?’ and asking how he even got all our emails and immediately from there it went to, ‘Let’s form a group, we should all go out,’” DuGraye adds.
So they did.
“People were saying how we should start a club, we should get together, and I wrote in and said, ‘I think this is the greatest origin story of a club ever,’” says Riley, also an undergrad. They took the conversation to Facebook, where DuGraye started the group, “Nicole From Last Night.” It now has over 90 members.
The Nicoles decided to meet up that very evening, but only about 10 of them could make it on such short notice.
And while their email chain was growing, so was their social media presence.
Update, we have gone viral and now have two interviews set up for tomorrow. One with CBC Calgary and one with CityNews. Plus more journalists are reaching out to us about our story. This is seriously the craziest and most incredible thing ever 😂 #nicolefromlastnight @UCalgary
— Nicole (@nicolekr19) September 9, 2018
— Nicolette Little (@NicoletteLittl) September 9, 2018
— Jess Nicol (@Jessticulates) September 9, 2018
— Julie Van Rosendaal (@dinnerwithjulie) September 10, 2018
But the Nicoles didn’t care about that; they were in it for the camaraderie.
“We’re all in different areas of study, from law to medicine to astrophysics, but we are all still excited to be a part of this community and connect in different ways,” Riley gushes. She went to the inaugural Nicole meet up and had a great time.
“We enjoy each other’s company so much that we are getting again together this Friday.” Riley’s birthday also happens to be this Friday, and she’s thrilled that she gets to spend it with her new friends.
It sounds like this support system was much needed by everyone involved. Riley said multiple members have expressed that they’ve never been happier to have a name like Nicole. “It instantly made me feel less lonely on campus,” Riley says. “When you’re on a big campus, you’re obviously surrounded by people all the time but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you feel part of a community or that you’re not lonely. Now we have people that we can reach out to if we want someone to have lunch with, or want to know if someone’s in one of our classes so we have someone to sit with.” She hopes the bond continues to develop, and it looks like it will. “From the messages I’ve been seeing in the Facebook group, everybody just wants this to be a positive thing, we’re so excited to interact and really support each other.”
DuGraye shares her sentiment. “Everyone is so amazing,” she says. “I heard that when everyone went out last week it was so genuine and everyone was so excited to be there. I’m pretty excited to head out and meet people; being on campus, you don’t always meet people.”
DuGraye thinks it could have something to do with the start of the semester. “I think everyone is latching onto this positive light with us all heading back to school.” She says a few of the Nicoles are incoming freshmen, and pointed out that this “bizarre way of meeting” is “a great entry into university.”
You’re probably wondering what happened to the original Nicole. “She wasn’t in the chain because she doesn’t have a university email address. She’s an exchange student at the University of Calgary,” DuGraye explains. Don’t worry, she found her flock. Another Nicole started telling her about this email chain when she realized Zetina’s email was meant for her. “So she found our Facebook group and she sent us a message, we actually got that message while we were at the pub Friday night and we were so excited,” Riley recalls.
The best part is, she wasn’t blowing Zetina off and a match has been made. “She’d only been in Canada about a week so she accidentally gave him the wrong number; she wasn’t totally familiar with the Canadian phone numbers,” DuGraye explains. So, the Nicoles put them in touch. “I think they’re planning on hanging out but this whole situation has blown up so much that I think she’s a little overwhelmed,” she says of Nicole from Holland.
More important, she plans on joining this Friday’s gathering with the rest of the Nicoles. “We are really looking forward to meeting her and having her part of our community,” Riley says. “We’re looking forward to hopefully doing monthly get-togethers, maybe get together to study. Things like that.”
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