It's a good news day when a story like this makes the front page of The Age and also finds a spot in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Australian, The Brisbane Times...
Steve Tucker, a Canberra public servant, has risked being sacked in order to try and find Olivia, who he met briefly at a party. She was introduced, it seems, by another public servant whose name he doesn't know, and though he was so smitten with Olivia, he lost sight of her before he could find out anymore about her.
Despite Government policy that its employees shouldn't misuse its email network or send inappropriate emails, Steve used the distribution list of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to send his plea to almost 7000 colleagues:
"There is a person who works here at DIAC, who has a housemate by the name of 'Olivia'. This message is for you. Briefly, I met Olivia on the Saturday night just passed. She left a strong and positive impression on me. Unfortunately, people got in the way after we met and I didn't get to finish our meeting how I wanted to. This has been bugging me ever since. If you can kindly let Olivia know that I would like to get in contact with her or alternatively get in touch with myself, I will be very appreciative. Disclaimer: I understand this is not the most appropriate channel. It is not my intent to misuse this email address. I have struggled to write and send this message. It has taken all of my willpower to do so."
(source: The Age and www.nzherald.co.nz)
What I like about this story are the amazing range of What Ifs that follow. These are the key ingredients. Of course, there's an element of Cinderella's Prince Charming here, except Mr Tucker's got an email distribution list instead of a glass slipper - and the story is being told from his perspective - but there's so many other directions it could go.
What if Olivia shouldn't have been at the party - should have been somewhere else - and he's just blown her cover/alibi/excuse? What if they meet up and it's the beginning of a terrifying, insanely destructive relationship... or the best thing that ever happened to them both? What if Steve gets sacked and can't afford to feed his goldfish any longer, but meets someone else at the pet shop that he's trying to sell it back to? Maybe he prefers the pet shop girl to Olivia and realises that this is where Fate was directing him all along? What if everyone at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship down their pens in support of sacked Steve and begin a Public Service Love-In? What if his email begins a radical movement that destabilises governments around the world?
Okay, this is getting silly, so I'll stop.
Word on the web, unfortunately, is that Olivia has been found and can't remember Steve... but that might just be a malicious rumour. Don't let it get in the way of a romance, let alone an interesting story.