Tinder matches between a San Mateo woman and two Berkeley men led to a surprising coincidence this week. Screenshot: Twitter

When Emily Cochran opened her Tinder app Monday evening, she thought she might send a few messages and find a potential date.

Instead, it appears she’s ended up solving a petty theft, writing a viral tweet and making two new friends.

Cochran, 18, lives in San Mateo, but “matched” on the online dating app with two young men who live in Berkeley.

One of them was a 19-year-old named Drew who, she noticed, had a photo on his profile with a can of the trendy soda water LaCroix. She sent him a message commenting on it.

“Coincidentally,” he told her, “I just found a rack of LaCroix on the sidewalk…I kind of took it home.”

About an hour later, Cochran was messaging with the other match, a 20-year-old named Raymond. She asked how he was doing.

Not well, Raymond told Cochran.

“I left my drinks outside for like two minutes and someone stole them,” he said.

Cochran connected the dots: “Was it LaCroix???????” she inquired.

“How’d you guess that,” he wrote back immediately.

Cochran couldn’t believe it. Had she found the rightful owner of the stolen sidewalk soda?

“I thought it was fake — I thought they were friends and messing with me,” said a still-incredulous Cochran on a video call with Berkeleyside.

But when she told Drew about the coincidence, “the first thing he said was, ‘Oh my god, should I put it back?’” she said.

Cochran wrote to Raymond to tell him his drinks were on their way back — just missing the two cans that Drew had already downed.


— Emily the BEAST (@classicbrahem) December 18, 2018

Drew told Cochran he would keep her updated, and he did, sending her videos of the two men meeting, and of them cracking open one of the drinks. “In honor of Emily,” one says in the video.

Cochran tweeted about the incident close to midnight. The next day, she was working at Starbucks — one of the two jobs she holds while attending community college — while the tweet was going viral.

“I couldn’t use my phone at all, and coworkers were telling me it was blowing up,” said Cochran, laughing. “I was shaking, making drinks. I was so nervous.”

Some people online share Cochran’s initial skepticism, questioning whether the coincidence isn’t just an elaborate prank between two college kids, or among all three people. Around 71,000 other people believe it enough to have retweeted it. Berkeleyside has not been able to verify the accuracy of the story, but is attempting to reach both of the men, who Cochran says both live in Berkeley — Raymond’s Tinder bio says he’s a UC Berkeley student — and will update this story if they get in touch.

Cochran is so busy and far enough away from Berkeley that she hasn’t been able to meet either of the Tinder matches she’s made momentarily famous, she said. But they’ve started a group chat and “we want to be a friend group,” Cochran said.

“It’s a little wild,” Cochran said of the whole situation. “I don’t know what to think of it. I’m just living my life — I have to go to work and stuff.”

Her followers on Twitter, meanwhile, are busy discussing whether they’re “Team Drew” or “Team Raymond.”

Others, referencing the LaCroix — popular with hip college students and Berkeley Bowl shoppers alike — and the blooming friendship between thief and victim, have made comments like, “That’s like, the most Berkeley thing I’ve seen all day…”

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Natalie Orenstein reports on housing and homelessness for The Oaklandside. Natalie was a Berkeleyside staff reporter from early 2017 to May 2020. She had previously contributed to the site since 2012,...