Do you like surprises? Last weekend, Debbie and I received one. Some surprises aren’t welcome. You know them: an unexpected financial burden, an accident, and shocking, tragic news that changes your world forever. But our surprise was not that kind. Though somewhat shocking, our surprise was a welcome sign suggesting that things are looking up for our book, Two Are Better: Midlife Newlyweds Bicycle Coast to Coast.
As we left church, an acquaintance mentioned to us that he had seen our story online in The Boston Globe. Assuming that he had the facts mixed up, I quickly mentioned the paper in which I thought he must have seen our story. Yet, he seemed certain about where he read the article, and his wife substantiated his claim. Then, perhaps realizing that we had no clue that a news article about our story was receiving much more favorable press than we’d imagined, he congratulated us. And, apparently touched by the story, he thanked us for sharing such an encouraging testimony for the enjoyment and benefit of others.
Sometimes, good surprises are just too good to believe. You know the kind. You have to see it for yourself before you can accept it, as if there is a conspiracy bent on jostling your emotions to and fro. So, upon arriving home, it was time to investigate. A few web searches later, we found our story in many places, not just The Boston Globe. The afternoon was spent scouring the Internet. What we discovered was that an article written by Chris Bergeron and published earlier in February by The Metrowest Daily News, our local daily newspaper, had hit the Associated Press and been picked up by the likes of The Boston Globe, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Boston Herald, Worcester Telegram, Maine Sunday Telegram, and on and on. Not only had the story been picked up by smaller newspapers affiliated with the Metrowest Daily News, it had leapt to other larger and unaffiliated newspapers and other media websites. When an article goes viral on the Internet, there is no telling how far it reaches. Ours, it seems, is a mild case, but we’ll take it. Exposure to over twenty-five websites, including some heavy hitters, will help spread the word about Two Are Better. By late afternoon, rawsignal.com, an Internet website that rates news stories, had Honeymoon on Wheels at #12 in the Boston market.
The modest viral effect of Bergeron’s article may suggest that there is some strong human interest in our story. As the writer himself told me, people can relate to it. It has common life elements at its core: love, marriage, retirement, bicycling, and two otherwise commonplace people. In a day and age in which crisis, greed, corruption, and death monopolize the media, a feel-good story of two lifelong singles meeting and marrying for the first time in their fifties, and then following it up with a self-supported, cross-country bicycling tour provides welcome relief from the dirge of bad news. Who can’t like that?