I was standing in line at the gate in Houston for a flight to Dallas back when I worked in technology. I was wearing a company polo. A nice lady in front of me asked me: “Do you work for Support Net?”. I answered “Yes, I do”. She said “My brother works for them”. “Oh, who is your brother?” “Dan XXXXX, do you know him?” “Yes, I know him well”. I was a VP of Business Development, Dan was a was a Brand Director, and we’d traveled together and recruited business together for his division. So, yes, I knew him well.
We ended up talking for a bit, and sat across the aisle from each other on the plane. So, I finally asked her “Do you know any good stories about Dan’s childhood you would be willing to share?”
From here, it took a bit of work.
The first story dropped in a sales meeting. Dan got together every Monday morning with his sales team for a weekly update. Most were in our Indianapolis headquarters, where Dan also resided. But Billy was a remote sales rep, and he’d call in to the meeting. The meetings usually started with everyone talking about their weekends, etc., while Dan updated his big white board in his office, with sales figures. They asked Billy what was new in San Antonio. So, he proceeded to tell everyone about his crazy (non-existent) neighbor. He said that the neighborhood kids were terrified of this guy, and that if they kicked or threw a ball into his yard, he’d find it and keep it. But this weekend, one of the kids had hopped the fence, and the crazy neighbor ran after the kid with an axe! At the mention of the axe part of the story, Dan’s writing slowed down, he had a puzzled look on his face, and then he went back to writing.
A few days later, I was in the Indy office, and stopped by Dan’s office. He motioned me in, I sat down, he asked what was new, so I told him. “Do you remember my old car?” “Yes.” I have a classic Mercedes convertible, and he’d ridden in it before. “I picked my daughter and a friend up from their gymnastics class, and we were driving her friend home. She lives out past us, and we were going through this part of the neighborhood that wasn’t built out yet. It was right at dusk, and these kids were on this hill shooting flaming coals at us as we passed by!” Dan says “You mean like a Funnelator?” “A what?” (strange look on my face) “A Funnelator! You take a metal funnel, tie 2 pieces of surgical tubing to it, and put lit charcoal briquettes into the funnel, and launch them! We used to do that as kids all of the time!” “OK… Well, I guess that’s what they were doing. Anyway, it was crazy!” And then we let that sit for a few days.
A few days later, Dan stopped by the office of one of his sales reps. I can’t remember his name, but he had a perplexed look on his face. Dan asked him what was wrong. He said he’d just gotten off the phone with the police. It seems that his daughter’s bicycle had been stolen, and they had caught the kids. They had busted a bike stealing ring. The kids would steal the bikes, then throw them into the neighborhood pond. In the middle of the night, they would go back and pull them out of the pond, then strip the and sell the parts! Allegedly, Dan’s face was priceless. He couldn’t understand where these random Déjà vu moments were coming from…
On Friday, before I left the office in Indy to fly back to San Antonio, I dropped by Dan’s office. I said “The weirdest thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I was standing in line at Southwest for a flight, and I was wearing a Support Net shirt. This very attractive lady asked me if I worked for Support Net. I told her I did, and she said “So does my brother”…
Dan’s head jerked up. Dan swept up EVERYTHING on his desk, and dumped it on my lap. “You son of a bitch, this has been driving me CRAZY for days. And I’m going to kill my sister!”
Stay tuned for “Dan’s (attempted) Revenge.