24,901

24,901. That number represents the circumference of the earth in miles. 24,901. To put that in an understandable perspective,if you were to drive your car around the Earth at the equator (and yes, even over the oceans), it would take you almost 17 days driving at roughly 62 MPH, 24 hours a day to complete that journey. Yet, even given those mind-boggling figures, I am constantly amazed at just how very small the world can actually be at times… Take today…

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Today I called AT&T to make an adjustment to our home phone service and pay a bill. After a brief wait, I was connected to a lovely lady named Donna Johnson, a woman I’m guessing to be slightly older than me.  She also has a distinctly Southern accent. Anyway, she was super helpful and very friendly so I commented on her accent. With a “smile” in her voice she volunteered that she lives in Ashland, Kentucky. I complimented her on her twang and shared with her that my mother’s family is from Louisville, Tennessee.  She asked why I didn’t have an accent and I told her I had grown up in Ohio in a tiny speck of a town I was sure she had never heard of…

“Not Shelby?” she asked.

What the heck???

Turns out Donna Johnson’s grandparents are originally from Shelby, Ohio and lived on Sherman Avenue.  Donna’s parents actually lived outside of Ashland, Ohio (we joked about how she lives in Ashland, Kentucky now) but she had been born in Shelby Memorial Hospital.

I was also born at Shelby Memorial Hospital.

ImageImageDonna was a super nice lady and we spoke much longer than we probably should have. I feel bad for the person trapped in the caller queue behind me who was probably advised of a “Wait time of less than one minute…” before being assisted by a customer service agent. Donna and I chatted for more than ten minutes…

I almost felt a little sad when Donna asked me if there “Was anything else she could assist me with today?” and if “…she had answered all my questions.”  For the ten minutes we had been talking, the world had seemed very small and comfortable to me. I was talking with someone who shared my background and origin. I guess the big takeaway of this whole experience for me was the reminder that on some level, we ALL share a common bond/human experience that is sometimes forgotten and/or overlooked. In Donna’s case, that bond was a tiny, sleepy town in Richland County, the “Fun Center of Ohio.”

That phone call was a blessing for me today – and I swear every part of this story is true.

In an expansion of the thought above, about how we all share a common experience, as I was basking in the cool weirdness of the moment, sad to say goodbye to Donna, she brought it all home when she said: “Thank you for being a valued AT&T customer. We know you have a choice when selecting a long distance service provider and we are thankful for your business.”  Then came the common experience moment – work – when she said in her adorable twang, “And Tim, if you would ever like to consider switching to U-Verse, please call me” and gave me her number and extension.

You know, Donna, I currently have no immediate plans of switching my cable/internet provider but, if I ever DO switch to U-Verse, I will give you a call… Promise…

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