A while back, I put up a profile on a business and career networking site. I didn't figure it would help much, but I figured it couldn't hurt.
Yesterday, I got an invitation from someone whose name I did not recognize, inviting me to link. Every other time I've gotten such an invitation, it's been from a friend or colleague who was also signed up on the site, and it's always been a pleasure to think of someone I hadn't talked with in a while but who wanted to stay in touch.
I figured this generic "I want to link with you" invitation was some form of spam.
But, on a lark, instead of declining, I sent back a message saying
I'm drawing a blank.
Do we know one another?
What came back knocked me over.
About two-and-a-half years ago, I got a call from a former colleague I'd always liked. She was looking to refer a friend to someone at the D.C. Bar (where I work) who could advise him on applying to be admitted to the Bar with a blemish on his record.
I told her my job had nothing to do with that kind of thing, but that I personally had some experience with the matter and if her friend wanted to call me, I'd be happy to share my experiences with him, as someone who'd gone through the process.
(My blemishes, as long-time readers know, include a voluntary 2-week psychiatric hospitalization in my early 20's.)
(Aside: Never agree to being locked up on a psych ward on the Friday before a Monday holiday. They just warehouse you 'til Tuesday.)
He subsequently called, and I remember him as being an easy conversation and a nice guy.
I told him the extra hoops I'd had to jump through, what a pain they were, warned him that everything takes longer than it should, and was reassuring about the likely final outcome in his particular set of circumstances.
I then promptly forgot about the whole thing.
As Paul Harvey might say, "Here's the rest of the story":
I am sorry, but in a weird way this is great. I have been meaning to thank you: I am XX's friend, who phoned you some 2 1/2 years ago(!) about waiving into the bar. I FINALLY got it, after 2 years, 2 months, last month....
Sharing about your experience prepared me for the worst, which is pretty much what it was.
So thank you so much for talking to me.
As for [the networking site], I was told I should do this, but I took the easy route by letting it into my email and just sending one invitation to lots of people, without personal, notes.
We must have communicated via email for it to pick you up.
Thanks again, David. I really really appreciate all your input.
Moral: Be nice. You never know which small act of kindness will be the one that makes all the difference for someone.