He was a complete stranger then. Now he is a dear friend…
“I hope to meet you down the road again”. Those were the last words we had exchanged on Friday, 9th September 2016. You can read the full story here – how I had a chance meeting with Doug at Chicago O’hare airport. He was selling for an utility company. I was trying to catch a flight.
Our exchange was short initially. But my flight got delayed by 17 minutes. Sensing an window of opportunity, I had walked back to him and had a deeper discussion with him. He had said something that I have never forgotten till this day. I think I had asked him about his experience selling those utility subscription at the airport. His words were “I hate the way people treat me like ####. You will be amazed how people will show me the hand and walk away. I know they are in a hurry. But why treat me like I am below them? I am just trying to do my job.”
“I am just trying to do my job”. Those words had rankled in my mind long enough that ever since I make conscious effort to be gentle with sales people that accost me. Especially those who have been trying to sell me more and more Delta Amex credit cards every week in Atlanta airport!
I get ridiculed by my family for making friends with everybody in Facebook. And in life. But I am incorrigible. My family readily agrees with that. Doug and I became Facebook friends and on his birthday every year, we kept up with each other.
Then, this week, one more window of opportunity opened up. I was in Chicago getting the decks ready for the announcement of the new company and my job there. I had a breakfast slot open. Doug readily agreed to make the 40 mile trek to catch up face to face one more time.
That was an wonderful hour. Got to know about Doug’s background and his kids and wife. We had a great time talking about learning from life’s lessons. Ever gracious, Doug had some great stories from his life that ranged from being hilarious to poignant. He is a great dad! He is a great husband!!
As he left after our breakfast, I reflected on our friendship. He was a complete stranger. And yet fate put us in a collision path – and we were destined to be friends. All the flight that day had to do was leave on time – and I would have never had a second chance with Doug. But, the flight was delayed. Two years later, that resulted in a wonderful breakfast and I got to know a genuine human being.
Long time back I had once expressed my thoughts about this kind of random meetings and then re-meetings in the following way…
In life – like in runs – we start from different points and end at different points. The line between those points – or the speed at which we traverse the line – does not define us. What defines us are the intersection points with others’ lines. For, it is in those intersection points that life offers us the opportunities to acknowledge each other’s journey, celebrate each other’s presence and make a difference to each other’s lines.
And that journey is what it is all about.
That is why we live. That is why we run.
I toast to your good health, Doug! Also, happy birthday, a few days in advance!!