On night one of The Bachelorette season 15, one contestant stole the hearts of America: Matt Donald.
Donald, or “Old Matt Donald,” won viewers over with his original entrance and southern charm. (He came in on a tractor and sang a song!) But unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to win over Bachelorette Hannah Brown and he did not receive a rose.
After he was sent home the first evening, fans immediately expressed their love for Donald on social media, even dubbing him the next “Grocery Store Joe.”
“It’s surreal,” he tells PEOPLE of the love he’s received since going on the show. “I never expected this. I thought people would just forget about me! I feel so much love and gratitude right now.”
Along with fans, a handful of Bachelor Nation stars tweeted about Donald, including Joe Amabile himself.
“Welcome to the club,” he wrote.
And if there was ever a lesson to be learned from Amabile, it’s that just because you’re sent home on the first night doesn’t mean your journey on reality TV has to be over.
If asked, Donald said he would absolutely jump at the opportunity to go on Bachelor in Paradise.
“If Paradise is offered I would definitely go,” he says. “I believe in this process and could see myself falling in love there.”
So who would Donald hope to see on the beach? He has a few names in mind.
“I’ve always loved Kristina Schulman but I don’t know if she’s going to be back there,” he says. “I like Tayshia [Adams] a lot too. She seemed really sweet and genuine on Colton’s season.”
And of course, Donald says he would certainly turn to Amabile for advice before going on the show. “I’d just use to as an excuse to talk to him!” he jokes. “I’d be starstruck!”
The Bachelorette airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.