Super polite grandma's Google search gets results — and then some
Her courteous search request has gone viral — it even made Google smile
Ben Eckersley giggled when he flipped open his grandmother May Ashworth's laptop last Thursday. The 86-year-old hadn't closed her Google tab, so her grandson got a glimpse at her last search.
"Please translate these roman numerals mcmxcviii thank you," the search said, followed by the answer — 1998.
Eckersley snapped a picture of the search and put it on Twitter for his friends to see. His tweet has since blown up — it has more than 10,000 retweets, 14,500 likes and has even gotten a live response from Google itself.
Omg opened my Nan's laptop and when she's googled something she's put 'please' and 'thank you'. I can't 😂😂😂 <a href="https://t.co/hiy2tecBjU">pic.twitter.com/hiy2tecBjU</a>—@Push10Ben
It turns out Ashworth was just trying to look up when a nursery rhyme book was published. She knew two of the numbers were 98, but couldn't figure the rest out.
"I feel a bit stupid really 'cause I did it that way," she told CBC News from her home in Greater Manchester. "I thought, well somebody's put it in, so you're thanking them."
"I don't know how it works to be honest. It's all a mystery to me."
Ashworth admits she's not very computer savvy. She doesn't know how to send emails and only uses Google a couple of times a week when she's stumped and needs to look something up.
<a href="https://twitter.com/google">@google</a> give grandmother a job @ Google :)—@lachlankuiper
<a href="https://twitter.com/Push10Ben">@Push10Ben</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/TheMichaelMoran">@TheMichaelMoran</a> One of the most British things I've ever seen. Bless her.—@MrsCupcake79
Her grandson comes over to do his laundry and documents her mishaps every so often when he's there. He posts them for friends on Snapchat and Twitter.
But this is the first time a post has gone viral. Ashworth said she is a bit overwhelmed by it all.
"I always love to think of myself as Mrs. Invisible," she said, joking. "I'm wary of saying anything in front of him now."
She made Google smile
Ashworth's manners have charmed the internet. After getting picked up by local media, her story has spread worldwide — Ashworth was even mentioned on Wednesday's episode of the Today show. When that happened, Eckersley knew he had to tell his grandmother, whom he calls Nan.
"I can't tell you how funny it is," Ashworth said. "Just it makes me speechless, honestly."
Even Google caught wind of the search and tweeted its own responses to it. The first came from Google's United Kingdom account, followed by one from the main Google Twitter account, which has more than 15 million followers. Eckersley said he's hoping for a free laptop now that Google has acknowledged it.
Dearest Ben's Nan. <br>Hope you're well. <br>In a world of billions of Searches, yours made us smile. <br>Oh, and it's 1998. <br>Thank YOU<a href="https://twitter.com/Push10Ben">@Push10Ben</a>—@GoogleUK
Dear Grandma, <br><br>No thanks necessary. 😊<br><br>Sincerely, <br>Google<a href="https://t.co/vedrVek8nb">https://t.co/vedrVek8nb</a>—@google
Ashworth said there's not a lot of nice things going on in the world right now, which is why she thinks her story has resonated with people.
"The films [today] seem to be all nasty and explosions. So it might be in the back of their minds, it's just like something a bit calming or soothing or something, I don't know," she said.
"I'm old enough to have gone through from the war to now … I was born in 1930, and you can imagine, there's been so much change in the world all that time … but I don't know if it's for the better or not."
<a href="https://twitter.com/GoogleUK">@GoogleUK</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Push10Ben">@Push10Ben</a> this remind me of my 92 grandpa trying to use MSN and signing each line with his name ❤❤❤—@anitaskywalker
<a href="https://twitter.com/Push10Ben">@Push10Ben</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/StTabitha">@StTabitha</a> The internet needs more people like her. <3—@LetsEatHay
Ashworth said all the attention has made her laugh. And how are they celebrating the new-found internet fame?
"We've gone really British and she just made me a cup of tea," Eckersley said.