It's not youse, it's me
Last week I was driving home from work when I caught a glimpse of my name on a sign. Instead of being a neat little coincidence, it was done deliberately. And what a surprise!
So how did this come about?
Two weeks ago I was commuting home, going east on the PA Turnpike from King of Prussia. Between the Ambler and Willow Grove exits rests Springfield Paper Specialties and its marquee. For those of you familiar with the sign, it’s updated almost weekly with seasonal sports picks, product specials and, my favorite, inspirational quotes. I’ve read the marquee for years since I was a kid in the car traveling with my family after visits to my grandparents’ house in Oreland. Today I’m back and forth on the PA turnpike from Northeast Philadelphia to King of Prussia (yes, that hurts to write) almost everyday.
Well, two weeks ago there was a message I just couldn’t read. It was longer than usual, and I’d tell myself I’d finish where I left off on the next day’s commute. Except, I would forget until I approached the sign again and it was too late.
When the next week began the quote had been removed. Oh well, I thought initially. But then, because I’m equally stubborn and curious, I decided I really did want to know. So, I contacted the first company email address I found and shot off a simple message. Basically: Hi! This is random, but what was last week’s message on the marquee? I read it every week.
The next morning I received a call from a number I didn’t recognize. My phone vibrated a minute later with a voicemail message—from someone at the business!
I took a break from work and returned the call. I’ll keep it brief, but say I learned about 30 years of posting quotes, and even a wedding proposal.
After 10 minutes on the phone I returned to my desk and told my editor in chief about the call. He responded, “Everyone needs to feel appreciated once in a while.”
Is that what I had done? Shown my appreciation? I got in touch with the company because I’m a word nerd with an obsession to detail. But I really enjoy those messages and read them during the doldrums of my drive. It made me happy I acknowledged the effort, even if I did so inadvertently.
The next day on my drive home I looked up at the sign like usual when I noticed “THANK YOU KATHLEEN” prominently displayed. After making sure I saw that correctly, I told everyone I could and asked for permission to go on the grounds and take a photo.
The quote, by the way, was: “To think too long about the doing becomes its undoing.” It happens to coincide with a recent essay I wrote detailing the delay in getting this very blog started in the first place.
Pay attention and good things will happen. You never know when you might be driving home and see your name in big letters available for the world to see.
Thanks for the reminder, Springfield Paper!
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