To most, Elon Musk is our most eccentric billionaire, known for weird baby names and threatening to take Tom Cruise to outer space. To one woman, he’s a mild annoyance. NPR has reported on one Lyndsay Tucker, a 25-year-old Sephora employee who has the misfortune of having Musk’s old phone number. And for the last couple of years she’s gotten calls intended for him, with occasionally bizarre requests.
She’s gotten a call from someone who volunteered to go to space via his SpaceX shuttle, whose planned launch on Wednesday was delayed due to bad weather. She’s gotten a call from former Disney exec John Lasseter, who wanted to sing the praises of his new Tesla car. She’s been contacted about coronavirus research, been sent blueprints about a bionic limb, and been given an order from a South African businessman for 1,000 trucks. One time the Internal Revenue Service called about some complex tax issue.
“I assumed I had messed something up,” Tucker told NPR. “It was a huge relief they weren’t looking for me.”
Tucker says she often has to prove to the mystery caller that she is indeed not Elon Musk. “They say, ‘Oh, how do I know you’re not Elon?’ ” she explained. “And they suddenly want proof that I’m not him even though they’re obviously talking to a woman on the phone.”
The number reportedly hails from an old condo in Palo Alto that Musk bought and sold years ago. When asked by NPR about the issue, Musk responded, “That number is so old! I’m surprised it’s still out there somewhere.” And yet Tucker claims some of the callers say they got the number from Musk himself. When asked if he handed those digits out to people he was trying to avoid, Musk did not respond.
Tucker says she finds the calls “amusing,” and that the frequency of Musk calls vary on the day; if he’s in the news, which is a fair amount, the calls dramatically increase.
“Whenever I see his name pop up in the news, I’m like, ‘OK, I have to actually learn what he said because, chances are, someone is going to message me about it or call me about it,'” said Tucker. “Even though I find it funny most of the time, it does get irritating sometimes when it’s like call after call after call.”