35 years and one birthday later...


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In 1977 while attending the Maryland Institute College of Art, I snapped the above pair of photos for a 'People Picture' assignment during my first ever photography course. At the time I was employed by Crown Central Petroleum which had a full service filling station on the corner of Gordon and Bond Streets in Bel Air, Maryland. The gentleman in the pictures was my Manager, Mr. Wendell B., who graciously agreed to let me photograph him on the job. Gas was less than 50 cents a gallon and as you can see on the sign behind Wendell, Dick Cavett was on TV.

September 28, 2013, the son of Wendell B. celebrated his birthday. We're facebook friends so I wished him a 'Happy Birthday' and then posted the above left photo on his wall. Minutes later I received a message from his son who was excited to be seeing that particular photo of his grandfather for the very first time. I had one other photo of Wendell, the close up, which I later scanned and shared with Charles B. who has since shared both with his family.

December 2, 2013, while in the waiting room of a health care provider (which shall remain nameless) I hear the name of Betty B. called for her appointment. I 'happen' to be hanging out in said waiting room as I'm the 'wheel man' for my mother on this day who also waits to be called for her appointment. I look around the room and see someone who is responding to the call out for Betty B. by making her way to one of the desks in the front of the room. She reminded me of Wendell but I soon found myself thinking, 'Nah… just a coincidence, what are the chances that this Betty is a member of Wendell's family?'

But that wasn't the end of it. As Betty returned to her seat in the waiting room I made use of the free wi-fi by opening the above image on my iPad, I then stood up and walked over to where she was seated and as I approached her with my iPad screen in plain view I said something like, 'Did I hear them correctly when they called your last name?' And as I showed her the screen of my iPad I asked, 'Would you be related to this gentleman?' She replied, 'That's my Dad.'

Now how about that? You wouldn't have believed the look on Betty's face. I could tell you more if you want to know more, just ask, but if you know me you know I often wrestle with how much is too much to say. This time I got it right. Betty and I had a nice conversation for a pair of complete strangers who were brought together by….? Well, I'll let you work that out. I'm still marveling at how this 'chance' meeting came to pass. Think about it.

Again I say, 'Never underestimate the power of sharing' and to that I hasten to add, 'Don't be afraid to say hello to a familiar stranger.'



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