The Gift of a Chance Encounter

Chance Encounter
My Beach Haul

Yesterday was my birthday, so being a good Manic Impressive I did the only reasonable thing. I ditched work and drove to the beach. My particular piece of heaven is San Gregorio State Beach, just 39 miles from my front door. It’s where I go whenever I need to relax, recharge, and get inspired. Or get a gift of a Chance Encounter.

Before I could even get out of the parking lot, a man called out to me and struck up a conversation. He was out from Connecticut visiting his daughter at Stanford, and decided to check out the beach as a little adventure on his birthday.

I pulled out my driver’s license, shoved it at him and said, “you mean our birthday?” My instant new best friend Terry and I spent the next hour enjoying each other’s company. I gave him a tour of my favorite spots while we reveled in the beauty of the beach and our serendipitous meeting.

A Chance Encounter

What are the odds? Two men from opposite sides of the country who share a birthday, meet by chance on that very day. I could not get past the amazing coincidence. Neither of us were planning on being in that spot at that time. I only decided to go 90 minutes earlier. He was just wandering down Highway 1 on a whim.

Has this ever happened to you? It seems to happen to me a lot. Ed, the best man at my wedding, came from a chance encounter at Boy Scout Camp. I met my friends Joni & Steve in a pickup volleyball game on a beach in Cancun. My friend Roy was stranded on the side of the road when I picked him up hitchhiking.

Lifelong Friends

These folks have been my friends for 44, 30, and 27 years, respectively. Even my wife, a lifelong friend for 28 years, was a chance encounter. Back when I had hair, she was sitting in my chair when I went in for my appointment at the salon.  I said, “Hey lady, you’re sitting in my chair”.  She snapped back,  “It ain’t your chair yet, buddy.” We got married three years later.

Chance Encounters happen to other folks I know too. My other buddy Ed was headed home from the East Coast when his flight was rerouted by a snowstorm. He struck up a conversation with Dave, the guy sitting next to him on the new flight, and they’ve been lifelong friends ever since. Just from a chance encounter on a plane Ed wasn’t supposed to be on.

Yes, I know I just ended a sentence with a preposition, but these Chance Encounters keep blowing my mind, making me forget the basic rules of grammar.

Reflecting On The Universe Of Opportunity

Which brings me to the point of all this. When my new friend Terry left the beach, I strolled the sand collecting my thoughts, shiny rocks, and sand dollars decorated with barnacles. Each item was placed in my path by the waves and the rising tide.

But had I been walking the beach an hour earlier or later, they would not have been there for me.

Pockets full of treasure, I headed back to the car with my haul, full of positive energy.  It was a great way to celebrate my birthday. Enjoying natural beauty and reflecting on how great things, like lifelong friends, can wander into our paths by “accident.”

But don’t kid yourself. These Chance Encounters aren’t accidents. They’re gifts. Gifts from the universe. Luckily we Manic Impressives get them often because we’re open to the treasures that life places in our paths. Terry and I connected because the wildly extroverted Manic in me values this kind of human contact. This gift.

So keep your eyes and heart open to opportunity wherever you are. Your next client, best friend, or wife could be placed into your path by “chance”. Please, don’t trip on them, kick them in the ribs, or worse, ignore them. Gently pick them up, brush the sand off them and take them home with you.

And if you’re ever needing some real estate appraised in Connecticut, shoot my new best friend Terry Dinean an email. I sense he’s good at his work and you’ll like him as much as I do.


9 thoughts on “The Gift of a Chance Encounter”

  1. Aram – Nice of you to write a blog about OUR birthday on May 17! And, speaking of chance encounters, we are sitting in a café on Sipan, an island off the coast of Croatia, having cappuccinos with our new friends, a couple from Australia, including a May 19 birthday! See you in few weeks.

  2. Hi,

    As I told my daughter about my day she was thrilled to hear this story.

    You see – it was even stranger than what Is told. I had driven past this beack turn off but turned around after getting a few hundred yards past the entrance. As I was getting out of the car I was just going to look. I had my hip replaced last year and was not sure I should walk any stretch at all. Now the kicker is – I had not had any conversations yet that morning, I just woke up, hopped in the rental car and tried to get to the coast from Menlo Park. (For those about to visit- do not rely on Verizon phones or Google maps.)

    Aram was a few steps ahead of me as I said aloud “man, this is just beautiful” He turns and with a great smile agrees and says it his favorite beach.

    So Aram was actually the first person I spoke to on my , our birthday. That is amazing . Certainly more than chance that sixty years to the day I’d be on the other side of the country and my first words would be to a person that shared the birthdate.

    Our meeting, the tour of caves I’d never have ventured to see, and a great conversation were indeed a wonderful birthday gift.

    Thanks Aram. Maybe the special nature of it all was simply the fact that two strangers can indeed, with a few kind words, effect anything. I look forward to more conversations and following the blog. Thanks Aram! Happy Birthday

  3. Happy Belated Birthday, Aram! What a great way to spend it, at the beach! Hopefully you wiggled your toes in the sand, relaxed, and were rejuvenated. May you be blessed through the next year and beyond.

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