Guy Travels 5,000 Miles to Meet Total Stranger That Facebook Suggested He Would Like

While most people tend to ignore Facebook’s friend suggestions, this Belgian student actually traveled all the way to Austin, Texas to meet up with a stranger just because the social network’s algorithm suggested they become friends!

24-year-old Victor Van Rossem was intrigued when Facebook displayed 49-year-old as a ‘suggested friend’, because they obviously had no connection other than a mutual acquaintance. “Facebook suggested we become friends, and I thought that was pretty absurd,” Victor said.

But as he spent time looking through Neal’s pictures, he became more and more interested in the artist’s life. “I became fascinated by him. He had a long beard and looked a little unusual. He did art performances and paintings of mythical creatures and strange beasts which only made me more interested in him.”


Victor finally decided that he wanted to meet Neal, whom he perceived as a very ‘eccentric person’. He tried contacting the artist on Facebook, and when he failed to receive a response, he decided to just go visit Neal in person and ask if he wanted to be friends.

“These days you can be friends with anyone anywhere, just by clicking that friend request button. I wanted to take it back to the real world,” Victor explained. So he set off on the 5,000-mile trip along with his friend, 27-year-old Bran Van Lee, who brought a camera to document the experience.


Once they reached Austin, the duo spent an entire week searching for Neal, scouring the city and putting up posters that stated: “Do you know or have you seen this man? Facebook said we could be friends. Please help!” They even wore t-shirts with the words ‘Neal D Retke for President’ printed on them.

“At first we thought our chances of finding him were very slim, but then we visited some places in Austin that we knew he liked to go – and we eventually found someone who knew him,” Victor revealed. The person they met suggested that they could find Neal at a book signing, and that was where Victor finally met the stranger he was so desperately looking for.


“We were nervous when we first saw him,” he said. “We didn’t know how he would react – but after we explained the whole thing he just laughed and said “well, you found me” as if he was expecting us.”

It turns out that Facebook was right in suggesting that Victor and Neal become friends. The two of them really hit it off and spent the next three weeks having a great time. “We had a lot of fun with Neal, and I consider him a real friend. We are still in touch through Facebook, and he might be coming to visit us next summer.”


Once they returned home, Victor and Bran converted all their video footage into a 30-minute documentary that is now available on Vimeo. It’s a heartwarming modern-day story that depicts how friendships have remained the same, even with the latest advancements in technology.

Photos: Facebook

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