What a small world!!
Yesterday, I had a lot of work stuff to get done. Instead of staying in office when everybody was gone, i just went to a bar half way between office and home with the intent to go thru all the numbers and documents over a glass of wine. (Usually, I try not to bring work home; I will stay out, finish it and then get home).
The bar was pretty empty. I walked to the corner most spot in the bar to sit down. It was rather inconvenient if you were going to watch a game on the TV or get the bartender’s attention – but I just needed a glass of wine and space to spread out my papers. So, it suited me just fine. As I sat down at the last seat, I noticed a plate (like a name plate) nailed to the wood – it said “Reserved for Ump Daddy”. That was a little intriguing. So I asked the bartender about it. He mentioned that Ump Daddy is their most regular customer. In return for his business, they did it to honor him. I asked him if I should move to the next chair. “Naah! He is cool”, came the reply.
With that, I started pulling out my papers. I must have been deep in all those document because, half an hour later, when I lifted my head, I saw that the whole bar had filled up. By the way, not sure if this happens to you – white noise by complete strangers lets me concentrate very well. I can tune them out. If if it is known people however, I cannot do that. My ear, invariably becomes curious to understand the conversations going on.
In any case, I also noticed there was a gentleman sitting next to me. Out of impulse, I asked him “Are you Ump Daddy?”. He confirmed that he was!! I told him I heard about the story and his nameplate and asked if he would rather we switch. He just laughed it away and told me not to work too hard. As is my wont, I started to find out what he does. Turns out he is in IT and has actually worked for our city (Milton) at some point in his career. He knew our neighbor Bill extremely well. In fact, he went on to tell me a very funny story of how he got the moniker “Ump Daddy” when he moved from North Carolina to this part of the country. We marveled that I would randomly walk into a bar twenty miles away from home and the first guy I would meet is somebody who knows my neighbor very well!!
After a few minutes, he got busy with other regulars in the bar and I went back to my work. When I was done and started to wrap up, we exchanged our contacts and cards to keep in touch and may be we might actually have opportunities for him some day at our company.
His first words after glancing at the card were – “Oh! You guys did Lidar for us last year”. You can only imagine how much I was taken aback! “You know what Lidar is???”. Turns out he works for a local government now for whom we did a geospatial project some time back!!! I immediately remembered the sales guy who had told me about a project in that particular area once.
So, all this time, I was actually sitting right next to and chatting with a customer!! Who knew? !!