My best friend, a local high school teacher, just returned from chaperoning students to Italy. When I called her to find out how the trip had gone, she told me about a remarkable experience.
One evening during her stay, as dusk was falling, she and three other Vancouver school teachers were walking through the centre of Florence when they passed a Tiffany & Co. store. One of the women commented that this company was like McDonald's, with locations everywhere. My friend asked if she'd like to hear a story, then began by telling the group about the car accident of March 7th, 2011. She was giving them the background for the incident that followed a few months later when that jewellery company and I connected in a most amazing way over the story of Michael and Kelly.
Just as the sun was setting, the four women reached the Ponte alla Carraia bridge, where they stood admiring the view of the nearby Ponte Vecchio, the city's most famous bridge. My friend continued with her story, telling the group about a similar trip she had chaperoned exactly two years ago. She had committed to undertaking that trip months before the accident, causing her to miss Michael's service. During those difficult days abroad, she would make the daily trip across the exact bridge the women were now standing on, each time stopping for a few moments mid span to dig deep and in her words, "man it up for Michael". She had had a special relationship with him and knew that he would not want her to be under a grey cloud during the entire trip, but rather, he would want her to have some fun because what she knew for sure was that Michael was all about having fun.
When my friend finally finished this lengthy narrative, one of the teachers turned to her to remark how incredible that story was and that she would never forget it as long as she lived. The woman then paused and added, "I feel like I've heard parts of this story before." She then asked, "Where did you say the accident happened?" My friend told her - just outside of Princeton. The woman instantly realized why that part of the story sounded familiar and told my friend that her son was the ambulance driver in that small town!
Wow. Halfway around the world, this random connection is made, bringing the entire story full circle, all because of one chance remark about a store. A small world, indeed.