During Sunday night's big game, T-Mobile aired a few Super Bowl commercials, all about various texting situations. There was the "dot, dot, dot" that goes on forever and leads to the person sending your paragraph after paragraph of text. The conversation between a couple about dinner that didn't go over so well with some viewers. And then there was the ad about a misunderstanding between a car service customer and the driver picking them up. This one drew attention because it seemed to have stolen its punchline from a viral tweet, but it turns out the joke wasn't stolen at all. Also, that original viral tweet might not be what you thought, either.
The original tweet, if you're unfamiliar, was posted in December 2017. In it, one person texts, "I am here for you" and the other person thanks them and says they're going through a tough time. The first person then responds, "This is your Uber driver. I am here to pick you up." The Twitter user captioned a screenshot of the conversation, "It was a quiet car ride." The tweet currently has 524K likes and 187K retweets.
As for the T-Mobile commercial, it features a very similar conversation, but this time between someone who requested a car and a Lyft driver. At the end of the ad, it's revealed that T-Mobile has a partnership with Lyft that offers free rides for customers.
Those who saw the ad during the Super Bowl were quick to point out the similarities between the tweet and the commercial, with some Twitter users assuming that it must have been stolen. Well, it was not. According to Business Insider, T-Mobile licensed the joke from @decentbirthday, who posted the original tweet. The Twitter user even tweeted about the ad:
@decentbirthday also tweeted, "It was licensed, don’t worry! Love y’all" and retweeted T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who posted, "I am here for you........... with a free @Lyft ride this week! #TMobileTuesdays" along with a video of the ad.
Now, this leads to the other matter at hand, which is that the original viral tweet — and I apologize for doing this to you — was not a screenshot of a real conversation. @decentbirthday's account is full of jokes, but if you just saw the Uber one circulating on its own or in a roundup, then it could seem real. In the full context of @decentbirthday's joke-filled page, it's clear it was fake — still very funny, though.
It's no surprise that there were concerns about the joke being stolen as jokes being stolen and reposted by other accounts or used in a way that they weren't originally intended has very much been a thing on the internet for years. In early 2018, Twitter suspended a number of accounts that were known for stealing tweets and "tweetdecking" (which involves selling retweets), as reported by BuzzFeed News.
In the case of the viral car service tweet and T-Mobile, though, it looks like things are all good. And, again, sorry if you thought that joke was real.