Man who recorded ‘You’ve got mail’ greeting for AOL now drives for Uber

Did you have an AOL account back in the day? If you did, you probably remember three things: Those rather ubiquitous AOL discs, busy signals and the elation of finally getting connected, and the ultimate payoff — online access! As Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly said in the 1998 movie of the same name: “‘I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: ‘You’ve Got Mail.'”

A genial fellow named Elwood Edwards spoke those three words, which became a symbolic gateway into the wild and wonderful world of something new called the internet in the late 1980s and 1990s. He also recorded other AOL prompts such as “Welcome,” “File’s done,” and “Goodbye.”

And now Edwards has moved into an entirely different area of tech — he’s an Uber driver!

How do we know this? It seems that a former Facebook exec named Brandee Barker got Edwards to repeat the famous phrases for her as she rode in his car in the Cleveland area while working for the Hillary Clinton campaign. She uploaded the clip to Twitter, where it has been shared and liked by thousands of people. She was stunned to meet him, and even started a GoFundMe account to “pay respect to the man, the legend.”

Mr. Edwards isn’t just known for AOL, though. He has done voice work on movies like Austin Power: International Man of Mystery, and The Simpsons for television. According to Time, he got the AOL voice job thanks to his wife. She was working for AOL in its infant stages and CEO Steve Case was looking for someone to do a voice demo of the greeting. Case loved the friendly sound of the clip and Edwards got a check for $200 for his work.

Now he’s on the road for Uber. If you find yourself in metro Cleveland, you just might run into the sound of the internet, circa 1989.


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