WITH his thick, bushy beard and sideswept mop of ginger hair, Neil Thomas Douglas, a photographer from Glasgow, could be said to have fashioned a distinctive look.
But when the 32-year-old boarded a routine flight to Ireland, it proved to be a case of separated at birth after he came across a near identical stranger on board.
In a bizarre and hirsute random encounter that has taken social media by storm, the Scot has told how he found his doppelganger in the form of Robert Stirling.
With a similar face shape, haircut and facial hair, both men posed for a photograph and shared a joke about their chance meeting.
The unlikely tryst took place on a Ryanair service from London Stansted to Shannon Airport in County Clare on Thursday, with Mr Douglas on his way to shoot a wedding in Galway.
As he made his way up the plane’s aisle, he found a familiar looking figure in his allocated seat – Mr Stirling. a 35-year-old civil servant from London.
“When the guy looked up, I thought: ‘He looks like me’,” Mr Douglas recalled. “We had a big laugh about it – everyone around us had a laugh, we took a selfie and that was it.”
Or so he thought. After landing at Shannon, both men went their separate ways to Galway, only for fate to reunite them at the same Jury’s Inn hotel in the city. After bumping into other yet again in a nearby pub, they decided to have a drink. It was, Mr Douglas said, an evening of “total weirdness”.
A photograph from the flight showing the would-be twins has gone on to be shared thousands of times on Twitter, drawing amused comments from other users.
British cartoonist Jamie McKelvie said: “They could have swapped passports, and committed the perfect crime.”