This morning, I decided to walk across the street to Louie’s Modern for a cup of coffee and a bagel. I am traveling north today so I have nothing to do but wait until the driver arrives to take me to the airport. Usually when I go to Louie’s, I sit outside I bury myself in my newspaper, rarely look up, and enjoy my coffee. But this morning, I purchased my breakfast and for some unknown reason walked down the street and sat in a spot in front of what was my favorite old book shop. Sadly, today it is a restaurant.
When I arrived at the corner, I realized I left my newspaper at Louie’s and had nothing to read. I looked around and recalled the charm of the old book store, its mildew smell, and the many authors I met there years ago. I listened to what sounded like hundreds of birds chirping from their nests hidden by the ivy covered walls of the old store. And then, I noticed a well dressed, handsome 40-something young man with a puzzled look on his face.
“Can I help you?” I asked. I learned that he had been to Sarasota years ago and recalled an old book store on this very corner. He wanted to know what happened to the charming book store that once was. And that was all it took–a woman in an odd place for coffee forced to look up and notice things and a young man searching for a shop that is now only a memory, both at the exact same time.
Somehow from the discussion about the demise of the old book shop, to how times have changed all our cities, we landed on our shared beliefs about living, diversity, women, and jobs. We discussed poverty, the current administration, cities in general, and Manhattan, Sarasota, and Ft Meyers specifically. We talked careers and values. He talked about his wife and young children, and I about my kids. I knew this young man and my kids had to meet. Simultaneously, he determined that I had to meet a woman friend of his who is a management consultant, new to Sarasota, with similar values. We exchanged contact information for all the parties named above and I now await a call from his friend.
Now what are the odds that Richard Habersham and I would both be on this street corner at the same time on the same day and have this powerful discussion. Coincidence you say? I disagree! The sign in front of the church on St Armand’s Circle this week says, “Coincidence is nothing more than God speaking anonymously.”–and there you have it. Call it God, or divine plan, or the stars aligning, I really don’t care what we call it. But most important, I believe our meeting was meant to be–Richard Habersham and I were brought together on this street corner for a reason.
I will meet Richard’s friend and we will talk about business possibilities in Sarasota and all sorts of other things, and something or nothing at all will come of it. But we will both walk away feeling glad that we met. Richard will connect with my children and they will talk about values and dreams, the sports industry and business in general, and who knows where that will take them, or not take them. There is no doubt in my mind that these things will happen and all parties will be glad that Richard H and I were on the same street corner at the same moment one day.
I am so grateful that I decided to sit on a different corner and even more grateful that I wasn’t absorbed in my newspaper that morning. ( I wonder how often my newspaper got in the way of meeting someone new. ) I am very pleased that Richard Habersham was in search of his favorite old bookstore that no longer existed at that very same moment.
Coincidence? No, not a chance.