A couple who met after accidentally adding each other on Facebook are planning on getting engaged as they’ve found a “soul mate” in one another.
Jo Kelly, 42 and from Wales, was scrolling on her social media profile when Matthew Benja, 34, popped up as a “person you may know”.
The youth councillor and learning disability support worker inadvertently clicked on the button requesting his friendship.
As the two had never personally met, Jo felt slightly embarrassed by her move.
“I just remember seeing this friend request message appear on my phone one day, along with another shortly afterwards which read, ‘Sorry, but I don’t think I know you,” said Jo.
“So I just replied, ‘You don’t know me. And I don’t know you either. I must have hit the friend request button by mistake. Sorry.”
But, a few days later Matthew posted something which really resonated with the mum-of-two.
“It was a post talking about the importance of being truthful and genuine, and how hard it is to find those qualities in a person these days,” Jo added.
“So I commented on it and we started talking from there.”
Another bizarre twist came in the form of Matthew also being from the same small Blaenau Gwent village as Jo – which only boasts a population of a few thousand – yet the two had still never before crossed paths.
“It’s mad because we even share some of the same friends, yet we hadn’t once bumped into each other.
“Not that I’m much of a party animal – I’ve been on my own for the last 10 years and my world hasn’t really extended beyond looking after my two kids – Imogen, who’s 18, and Gracie, 14.
“And Matthew’s the same – he’s got a 12-year daughter and doesn’t get out much.
“Then, one night, I decided to meet him for a chat and drove to his place. I was still wearing my comfies, so I really wasn’t expecting anything to come of it,” she laughed.
“We just sat in the car for ages and talked, and I liked what I heard.
“And from that point we became inseparable – I genuinely felt like I’d found my soul mate.”
Not long afterwards though, Matthew fell ill, developing a large abscess in his throat as a result of a rare and serious complication with tonsillitis.
“He’d already been taking antibiotics but when he phoned me one day he could hardly talk or breathe,” said Jo.
“So I took him down the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport where he was told his throat had almost completely swollen shut and that he needed surgery.
“Had he not seen a doctor when he did who knows what could’ve happened. He could have gone to sleep that night and not woken up.”
And Matthew would repay the favour later on.
“I found a lump in my breast after we’d been going out about five months and was referred to a cancer clinic as there’s a history of it in my family,” said Jo.
“It was the most anxious time of my life waiting for the results, but Matthew stood by me all through all that.
“He said, ‘Whatever the outcome, it changes nothing between us’.
“Plus, I’m also in the middle of having blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis, which my dad was diagnosed with at the age of 37.
“He was dead by 52, it ravaged him.
“Obviously medication’s come on leaps and bounds since then, but it’s still really worrying.
“And without Matthew I don’t think I’d have coped with all that alone.”
The pair, who bubbled together during lockdown, are now looking at getting engaged.
“I’ve told him to get saving for a ring because this girl only wears rocks,” she smiled.
“We’re also trying to get our first house together and hopefully that’ll all fall into place once things are a bit more settled regarding the pandemic.
“But the bottom line is this – I know he always has my back and I’ll always have his.
“It’s just frightening to think that all this so easily didn’t happen.”