Women have been engaging in their own version of "If you see something, say something" for centuries when it comes to shady behavior from romantic partners. But with the rise of social media, the line of who you know and who you know has been blurred past the point of recognition. This student warned a mutual Twitter follow about an IRL romantic situation — and people are here for this boundary-hopping display of solidarity.
The now-viral moment began when Rebekah Pendley, a 19-year-old sophomore at University of Texas, San Antonio (UTAS) saw a familiar face while studying in the library last week. Er, maybe "familiar" isn't the right word. Pendley saw a guy, seemingly identical to Jasmine Rios' boyfriend, cuddling up to another girl. The snag? Rios, an 18-year-old fellow student at UTAS, and Pendley are mutual follows on Twitter. They'd never actually met in person. Pendley just recognized "the boyfriend" from photos Rios had posted online. Bustle reached out to Jasmine Rios for comment.
Pendley says she felt torn about reaching out to an IRL stranger about something so personal and even consulted the group of friends she was studying with, reports BuzzFeed. But ultimately, having been cheated on in the past, Pendley felt she would have appreciated knowing, even if the information came from, well, a sort of friend? A digital acquaintance? A Twitter....person?
"Hey girl, I know we don't know each other, just been mutual follows on Twitter for a bit," she began in her Twitter direct message to Rios. "But I recognize who I think is your boyfriend in the library from all y'alls pictures on here and he's with a girl and he's being kind of touchy with her."
And then she ended with the best closing line a friend could ask for.
"Tell me if you want me to fight him, I'll be here for a while."
Rios says when got Pendley's message, complete with a surreptitiously taken photo of the touchy pair, she burst out laughing. Because in a scenario literally stripped from a Disney Channel Original Movie, Rios' boyfriend, Isiah Williamson, has an identical twin brother. The couple Pendley had snapped a pic of? Aaron Williamson. And his girlfriend. LOL.
"I was with my boyfriend when we actually received the message!" wrote Rios in a correspondence with Bustle. "We thought it was super funny because people get them mixed up all the time but something like this has never happened before!"
But despite the identity mix-up, Rios was still appreciative of Pendley's willingness to say something and, potentially, do something. "If it was my boyfriend, I would have wanted to know," she told BuzzFeed.
As for Pendley's threat of throwing hands? "I meant it as a joke, I don't condone violence," Pendley told BuzzFeed. But she would have engaged in a verbal confrontation, she says, if Rios had confirmed that the dude in question was Isiah.
Rios posted the message exchange on Twitter six days ago, along with the caption, "Thanks for having my back though girl."
It has since racked up nearly 250,000 likes, 45,000 retweets and thousands of opinions (obviously). Some feel Pendley should have just minded her own business and left the situation alone. After all, the two didn't actually know each other, right?
Others shouted from the rooftops about the importance of girls having one another's backs. "If you're not here for me like Rebekah was there for Jasmine then I don't need you in my life," tweeted user @blenthebum. Sift through the replies on Rios' original tweet and you'll see hundreds of similar messages, amped about women sticking up for women.
The tweet even helped surface several similar situations involving identical twins, public displays of affection and eagle-eyed friends.
Rios, for one, posted an accompanying follow up message moments after her original tweet.
"We need more people like Rebekah in this world."