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Greg Asked For A Holiday. The Internet Helped Him Get It

It started out as a simple vacation request to the boss. It quickly became an Internet phenomenon.

And, now there's even a T-shirt.

Greg Heaslip, who works as a security guard at U.K.-based fashion retail group , emailed his manager asking for some time off.

But the reply, which suggested Heaslip would not be granted the request, got inadvertently forwarded Thursday to 3,500 staff members at the company, sparking a wave of sympathy for Heaslip's plight. Within hours it had spilled out of the office and onto Twitter via the hashtag #GiveGregTheHoliday.

The BBC says:

"An Arcadia employee, Kimberly Jaina, seems to have been the first to get onto Twitter and use ... #GiveGregTheHoliday. Within minutes, others were using the hashtag."

Some chimed in with possible destinations ...

According to the BBC, the hashtag "became a top trend in the UK with more than 2,000 tweets — and that is when the marketing started. Companies tried to put their messages across using the hashtag, including some like Miss Selfridge that are actually part of Arcadia Group." Then, tour operator Trek America offered a free weekend in Vegas:

Other retailers got into the act, offering Heaslip toiletries and hair care products for his trip to Vegas. Arcadia's own TopMan topped off the package with a new suit.

Arcadia Group told the BBC that the email was in error and that Greg's request was in fact approved. "The holiday request had actually already been approved on the system and Greg will get his holiday!" it said.

There's only one problem:

The BBC couldn't reach Heaslip for comment and says "he may not actually know much about what has happened."

"Greg works nights," his employers were quoted as saying, "so we are not totally sure as to when today he became aware of the interest in him and his holiday."

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.