The Small Surprises That Can Make Your Day

Surprise Candy

Yesterday afternoon I had a colleague stop by my desk and it made my day.

OK, I know, having someone stop by isn’t a big deal … but I hadn’t seen this person in well over a year (since August 2012) – because she had gone home to China and was working on a totally different project!

Back in early spring 2011 two colleagues from Corning in China came to work with us for an extended period, and quickly became valued friends and part of the team. There was a man and woman, one focused on equipment and the other on measurements. They were young and enthusiastic, and fun but not really accustomed to how projects were structured in the US so there was a significant learning curve – and also dealing with all of the casual phrases and colloquialisms proved a challenge!

They headed back in August 2012 as noted, after which contact was by email as I provided performance review feedback for the young woman. A bunch of us were connected on Facebook, but access from China was very expensive so once they headed home that contact stopped.

Since then I moved on to another project (and now yet another) and I know that the man stayed partially assigned to the project while the woman went to another project.

Back in December I was surprised walking down the hallway when I saw the man – he was working here for a couple of weeks before some activity took place in Asia (you understand I can’t actually be specific about anything). It was great catching up – he’d had a baby just before he left and it was great to hear and see how quickly the little one had grown (I am a total sucker for babies!). He mentioned that the woman was doing well but didn’t tell me she was coming back to the original project!

Fast forward to yesterday – a young woman (sorry, anyone in the ‘2x’ age bracket gets ‘young man’ or ‘young woman’) I had trained last year stopped by my desk with a ‘hey Mike’ … and there was the young woman from China! It was funny – last she knew I was on a different project so she mentioned in passing that it was too bad she couldn’t say ‘hi’ while she was here.

Today she stopped by with her traditional gift of Chinese candy – much less sweet than what we are used to having, but interesting stuff to try!

I will get to chat once or twice more before she heads out, and who knows if we will ever talk again … but in the busy fast-paced project world of modern tech companies people tend to come in and out of your life so quickly it isn’t often you make a lot of friends … so when you do (and I made more on that project than the rest of my time at Corning combined!), it is great to revisit them when you can!

Have you ever had a surprise visit like this? Meet up with old friends or colleagues, even just for a few minutes?

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