When a complete stranger messaged Joe McGrath on Facebook last week about a free trip to Spain, the 21-year-old in Manchester, England, thought it sounded like a hoax. But he says the invitation kept replaying in his head, and soon he found himself on the phone with a man who sounded quite genuine. A group had planned a surprise trip to Majorca for a friend's 30th birthday, but their friend Joe McGrath wasn't able to go, and they didn't want the plane ticket or hotel room in his name to go to waste. "They messaged 15 other Joe McGraths on Facebook and only one was stupid enough to reply, and that was me," he tells the BBC.
But "fake" Joe, as the birthday group reportedly took to calling him, talked it over with his girlfriend and boss, and decided to take the leap and enjoy the three-day trip, reports the Manchester Evening News. He posted to Twitter a now widely-shared photo of himself with the group of strangers living it up on the island with the note, "So this happened." Now that he's back, he says the 10 friends from Bristol, a city about three hours south of him, were an "absolutely lovely group of people," and that he's planning to invite them to Manchester for a thank-you night out. He even thinks he'll meet the "real" Joe McGrath sooner or later, "and it will be a magical moment." (Does this story sound familiar?)