TALLADEGA, Ala. — It began, as all good love stories do, with flowers, fast cars, and hope.
Saturday afternoon in the grandstands at Talladega Superspeedway, ISM’s Monica Palumbo spotted a fan carrying a full bouquet of flowers. This is not something you often see at a race track, so Palumbo began interviewing the gentleman.
He said his name was Omar, and that his flowers were for his lady Amber. Now, at the time of the interview, Amber was not with Omar. Amber, in fact, had never been with Omar. They had been talking on Facebook —
-faint alarm starts pinging-
— for two years —
-alarm getting louder now, like a car horn beeping a block down-
— and Omar had fallen in love with Amber, calling her “the sexiest woman ever” —
-alarm going at full blast now, like a dorm fire alarm waking you from a dead sleep-
— and he was going full blast on the romantic platitudes, calling her “my girlfriend, my queen, the love of my life” —
-alarm screaming like an air-raid siren, deafening all within miles-
… you get the picture. This oil-stained, charcoal-scented version of “The Notebook” didn’t sound promising at all, and yet poor Omar was insistent that his queen, the love of his life, would be meeting him at the Xfinity Series race on a Saturday afternoon in rural Alabama. Here he is in mid-interview, as captured on the track’s giant video screen:
I took a pic of Omar when he was telling the crowd about his gf. The entire place gave a collective “oh no” groan when he told his story. Especially when he said “my girlfriend, my queen, the love of my life” ... oh man that was rough. Hope he got an answer yesterday either way. pic.twitter.com/0gAywtwVQB
— Mike Johnson (@MPJohnson79) April 28, 2019
Now, this put Palumbo in a bit of an awkward position. She, like most everyone else not named Omar, almost certainly knew that the poor guy was the victim of a particularly cruel joke. During a break in the racing action, she updated the crowd, noting that Omar had slipped away. Has he met his lady love? We can only hope.
— Monica Palumbo (@MonicaPalumbo) April 27, 2019
There’s always the possibility that Omar is the one catfishing and we’re the target. Hey, anything’s possible, even if it’s an incomprehensible grift. But one eyewitness account would seem to dispute that:
Omar talked to me and my coworker at the Transformation booth after the race ended. Wondered how to get in the infield. Poor guy.
— Nino Nuccio (@NinoNuccioMIS) April 28, 2019
Social media burned up the rest of Saturday and on into Sunday, with NASCAR fans begging Palumbo and racing journalist Jeff Gluck for updates on poor Omar, all for naught.
Palumbo made one more public appeal on Sunday during the Cup race for Omar to give her an update. Did he and Amber connect? Was this all one big joke at poor Omar’s expense?
We still don’t know, but this much is true: if one wanted to drown their sorrows, forget all about their pain, and find a whole new pickup truckload of new, indulgent friends, there’s no better place on earth than the Talladega infield. This is also true: if someone is in fact catfishing Omar, they deserve to clean out the Talladega porta-johns for the next decade ... from the inside. Godspeed, Omar.
(And, Omar and Amber: let us know if you lovebirds ever connect.)
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