Tuesday, January 12, 2021

No caller ID... a tiny act of kindness

This afternoon I received an anonymous call.

Anonymous in the sense that my phone said "No caller ID".

For some reason I resisted the temptation to dodge the call, which is my first instinct, and the thing I usually do.

I answered in my usual guarded tentative way.

"... hello?

The voice on the phone didn't sound one bit like a telemarketer. If anything, the voice seemed polite, earnest, and measured, and, if anything, sounded a little like I would expect a call from the North Pole might sound.

But what the mystery caller was saying I was having a difficult time coming to terms with.

"I sent you my business card?"

What the... ?

I denied sending anyone my business card. It was weird. Why would I do that?

He was doing his best to explain, to ease my obvious concern. I mean, how else did he get my number, Mr. No Caller ID?

The call was going sideways quickly, until he said that his daughter was the one who had solicited my business card...

My suspicious, wary, slow-motion brain finally made the connection, just in the knick of time. The dark murky veil that was about to eclipse the call suddenly fell away as a warm ray of sunshine finally appeared. 

Back in late November, I received a message from a lawyers' email list I subscribe to. It's what I would call a serious message board and the members tend to be prominent highfalutin legal eagles. I tend to be a lurker, not a mover and a shaker.

99.09% of the emails, as you might expect, stick to the legal topic at hand.

Then there's that 0.01% that stray from the path.

In this case, the lawyer, apologizing for the interruption, inquired ever so politely, if anyone on the list would mind sparing a business card.

Good morning, 

My dad collects business cards (hey, everyone needs a hobby!).  He is 74 years old and lives in an assisted living seniors’ residence here in Winnipeg.  Due to COVID restrictions, I have not been able to visit him for several weeks.  I’m not sure what Christmas will bring.  But I know that he would LOVE to get more business cards for his collection.  So, if you (a) have a business card; (b) have access to same; and (c) can spare one business card, an envelope and a stamp, please respond to this e-mail and I will send you my dad’s mailing address.

Thanks for your help with my little Christmas project.  Apologies for trespassing on the list with this personal request.

How could I resist? I lost no time rustling up an envelope and gathering some cards, including one of the precious few of my late Dad's pre-retirement circa 1993 business cards (I knew my Dad would be pleased).

 Hi...

It's on its way:

Denis Masse - Kodak, VP Ottawa (retired)

David Masse - Caravel Law, lawyer

David Masse - Governance View, consultant

David Masse - Governance Professionals of Canada, Chairman (former)

David Masse - Life on two wheels, explorer

Warm regards and best wishes to you and your Dad for Christmas!

 Roy was calling to thank me for the cards.

I have to say, I think that my little November gesture brought me as much joy on this cold dreary grey January afternoon, as it may have brought for Roy.

We had a great chat. I asked Roy who the most important person was in his collection. He paused to consider, as he cast his mind's eye over the more than 17,000 cards in his possession. "Pierre Trudeau" he said. I had the honour to meet our former Prime Minister in 1997, and if I had his business card it would be the top of my collection too.

I am sharing this little story because we are all in serious need of small acts of kindness.

Do what you can.

7 comments:

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

Just good all the way around!

SonjaM said...

Glad you didn't follow your instincts and hung up on the anonymous caller. Heart warming story, David.

David Masse said...

Thanks you two!

Re-reading my post this morning, there was a tear in my eye. Tough times indeed.

Melanie Bueckert said...

Thank you so much for brightening my dad's Christmas! And for taking his call :)

David Masse said...

It was truly a pleasure Melanie.

Unknown said...

"because we are all in serious need of small acts of kindness." - The Kindness always comes back :)

David Masse said...

Thank you for the kind thought.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.