May 20, 2024

A pair of men from the U.K. say that they have made a “friend for life” after being inadvertently seated next to each other on an 11-hour flight from London to Bangkok, Thailand. After a mix-up at the gate, the two so-called doppelgängers learned that they shared the same name, and that was just the start of the coincidences.

When Mark Garland, 58, a bus driver from Trowbridge, Wiltshire tried to check into his flight at Heathrow on March 2, he was told by perplexed staff that he was already accounted for. After 40 minutes of initial confusion, it was revealed that there were actually two men by the same name on the flight, and that the check-in clerk hadn’t cross referenced the booking number.

As a result, the other Mark Garland, a 62-year-old builder from Warmley, Bristol, had accidentally been checked in to his place on the EVA Air flight. And if that wasn’t confusing enough, the two men looked eerily alike, both with similar features and a matching bald heads.

Once they finally boarded, both Mark Garlands found themselves seated next to one another. Over the course of the next 11-and-a-half hours, they discovered other coincidences, such as that they shared the same hobbies, had a friend in common, and both had four children. They also learned that they lived just 15 miles apart, and that the older Garland would sometimes ride on the younger one’s bus.

“One of my colleagues knows him and goes for drinks in the pub with him,” the younger Garland told the U.K.’s South West News Service, via the Daily Mail.

What’s more, the pair bonded over their share love for Thailand, with the 62-year-old having visited 13 times and the 58-year-old a whopping 83 times. Both currently single, they were going on holiday for three and four weeks, respectively.

“We were so shocked by how strange it was. We both kept laughing and smiling about it, it made me happy,” the bus driver later remarked. “I said, ‘You have caused me so much problems,’ and he said, ‘You have caused me so much problems.'”

“It was crazy—I have never known anything like it,” said the builder. “They said there was another Mark Garland. They came to the bar, and asked to see my passport. I was thinking ‘What is going on!'”

“My name was coming out of the antenna, and my phone was going. I thought someone was winding me up,” he continued. “I go to the desk and there’s a bloke who looks just like me, but he’s a bit bigger than me. I’m better looking and older.”

“He’s like me, I’ve got a character and I love winding people up—we’re the same,” the 62-year-old commented on their similar personalities. “He’s actually a nice bloke, I’ve got to say. I’m a bit taller but people have said we could be brothers.”

By the time they landed at their destination, the pair were fast friends, with the younger admitting that he even “had a little nap” on the shoulder of his seat mate. While in Thailand, they plan to meet up for a beer, but it seems just the start of what will undoubtedly be a beautiful friendship.

“I’ve made a friend for life,” confessed the 62-year-old.

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