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Grandmother’s unusually polite Google search goes viral

On June 9, an 86-year-old UK woman named May Ashworth typed a simple Google query:

“Please translate these roman numerals mcmxcviii thank you.”

This polite request went viral after her 25-year-old grandson Ben Eckersley posted a photo of the laptop to Twitter. He was visiting her and went to use the dryer when he found the laptop screen on and quickly took the picture.

He tweet has garnered more than 37,000 retweets and close to 52,000 favorites since it was posted June 9.

“She thought that by being polite and using her manners, the search would be quicker,” Eckersley told the BBC.

The grandmother said that she was hoping to figure out when a book of nursery rhymes was published.

“I feel a bit stupid really ’cause I did it that way,”  she told CBC News from her home in Greater Manchester, England. “I thought, well somebody’s put it in, so you’re thanking them.”

Google’s UK Twitter account replied to Eckersley’s tweet with the answer to the question, adding that “in a world of a billion searches, yours made us smile.” and also responded with “Dear Grandma, no thanks necessary.”

It seems that good manners never fail even on automated search engines. The answer to her search, by the way, is 1998.



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