TECHNOLOGY

People puzzled by peculiar texts, and no one can say why

Nov 8, 2019, 5:58 AM | Updated: 6:03 am
FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2013, file photo, a person checks their smartphone in Glenview, Ill. A myst...
FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2013, file photo, a person checks their smartphone in Glenview, Ill. A mysterious wave of texts swept America’s phones overnight Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, delivering unintelligible messages that left many people mildly confused when they woke up on Thursday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
 If you woke up Thursday to a weird text that seemed totally out of place, you aren’t alone. A mysterious wave of missives swept America’s phones overnight, delivering largely unintelligible messages from friends, family and the occasional ex.

Friends who hadn’t talked to each other in months were jolted into chatting. Others briefly panicked.

The best explanation seems to be that old texts sent in the spring suddenly went through. Two people said they figured out the original messages were never received. It’s not clear why this months-long delay happened. Phone companies blamed others and offered no further explanations.

Stephanie Bovee, a 28-year-old from Portland, woke up at 5 a.m. to a text from her sister that said just “omg.” She immediately thought something had happened to her newborn nephew at the hospital.

She started calling everyone. Her sister and her sister’s husband didn’t answer. She woke up her mom, freaking her out. It was three hours before she learned that everything was fine and the text was an odd anomaly.

“Now it’s funny,” she said. “But out of context, it was not cool.”

Bovee figured out that people were getting some of her old texts that failed to go through when her sister and a co-worker both got texts that she had sent in February. The text her sister received wished her a happy Valentine’s Day.

Mobile carriers offered unhelpful explanations for the weird-text phenomenon, which appeared to be widespread, at least according to social media.

A Sprint spokeswoman said it resulted from a “maintenance update” for messaging platforms at multiple U.S. carriers and would not explain further. T-Mobile called it a “third party vendor issue.” Verizon and AT&T did not answer questions.

Marissa Figueroa, a 25-year-old from California, got an unwanted message from an ex she had stopped talking to — and then he got one from her as well. Neither actually sent them last night, both said. Figueroa couldn’t figure it out, even worrying that her ex was messing with her, until she saw reports of this happening to others.

“It didn’t feel great,” she said. “It just was not good for me and my mental health to be in contact with him.”

A friend who’d just re-entered his life got a mystifying message from Joseph Gomez at 5:32 a.m. Thursday. In that text, Gomez seemed to assume she was on her way over to his house so they could order a Lyft.

It took a half hour of back-and-forth texting and help from a screenshot to clear up the situation. Can their relationship recover? Gomez, 22, said it was “confusion, then awkward, and then funny.” No mixed messages there.

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People puzzled by peculiar texts, and no one can say why