What a day! First, I had not registered for Dreamforce, biggest blunder I’ve ever made. So I show up at the registration desk and they cannot find me in their “systems”. Yikes! Regardless, I managed to get a full conference pass in less than 30 minutes. Thanks to the friends at Salesforce who worked their magic. I owe them big time. And since that was not enough I lost my phone in a crowd of 171,000 people. Good news – I found it. And as a bonus, I got a hug in return. And then I ran into my old friend and tech lead who I really wanted to meet today, right outside the conference center. We enjoyed a short and lovely walk back to the Bart, and reminisced the good old days.
So about the random hugs…
As soon as I found out that my watch was not synching to my phone, I figured I had lost my iPhone. Thanks to Apple, I immediately set my phone to ‘lost’ and displayed a banner requesting to call me on my Corp phone in case someone finds it. Through “find my phone” I figured it was in Moscone South. I knew it was still around.
Through research I figured out that lost and found center was in Moscone South. That was good news. I walked over there in the middle of the keynote and hence missed the charismatic speech of the future governor of SF, Marc Benioff 😉
Walking through Dreamforce is like being in Tokyo. There are people everywhere. It’s overwhelming. It is exhausting and I don’t like it. Especially since I was at the same crossing for the third time in the last 60 minutes. Sigh! When did this conference become so big?
I went to the lost and found station and a gentleman checked my ID (I don’t know why) and escorted me to the returns area where a woman was on the phone consoling someone about their lost property. She was so sweet and so empathetic to the caller. I was emotionally moved by her sense of ownership and care. She was truly enjoying her job. She cared about the people who had lost their things. When she hung up the phone, I told her what an amazing job she was doing. She was calming people down in their toughest hour. I told her that she should be a counselor.
She took a quick break and told me a story. When she was 19, and earned her first pay check, she cashed it and was on her way home. It was San Francisco in the 80s. She got off the bus and realized that she had dropped her wallet on the bus. The bus took off and she saw a man pick up her wallet and keep it with him. It was a ‘Hello Kitty’ wallet that her mother had gifted her. A few days later she found out that the man had been arrested. The money was all gone but her ID and the “Hello Kitty” wallet was returned to her. She then took out a wallet from her hand bag and it was that “Hello Kitty” wallet. She said, “I am 44 now. And I still love this wallet. People love their things.”
I continued to smile. And for a brief moment remembered the tiny platinum earrings my Dad bought me when I went to India for the first time, after starting grad school. Those earrings are the only token from my Dad that I ever received as an adult. I lost those earrings and found them in one of my hand bags after two years. I know how it feels when you find something you were sure were never going to find again.
She then got up to find my phone in the stack of things that had been returned that day. And on her way, she came back and said, “I am going to give you a hug. It’s a good day. People are finding their things. And I am so glad you listened to my story.”
After she found my phone, she handed it to me, and then walked over and kissed my forehead and said, “God bless you!”
I guess I will need that blessing some day. I couldn’t resist the tears that came rolling down. I was overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted. And I walked out the door with a heavy heart, and that’s when I ran into my old friend.
Has anyone randomly hugged you ever? It’s a beautiful feeling. Very warm and very loving.
I often joke that when God takes a parent from you, he/she gives you lots of angels in return who bless your life at random. My lost and found woman was one of them. Who knows if it was indeed my father giving me his blessings through that kind woman.
I feel so blessed today. It was a very special day.