On April 21st of this year, I attended the funeral of a friend and former co-worker Tommy Hall. A man that I had the enjoyment of knowing and learning from and the person I credit for my life long Apple Computer addiction. When Tommy and I worked together several years ago, he sold me his Mac PowerBook; that was the first stage of my addiction. Fast forward to today; I own a MacBook Pro, an iPhone and an iPad; with more purchases planned!Tommy left behind an incredible wife and two beautiful daughters. The funeral was hard, as all funerals are, but it also taught me about how we grieve more publicly now than ever before. Many of us that knew Tommy posted remembrances on his Facebook profile as well as on our own walls. I was touched and humbled by the number of my friends that offered love and condolences on this day; many of these people never knew Tommy, but they knew me, and I am very thankful for their friendships.I posted this photo that I sent to Tommy after a trip back home to West Virginia; we all smiled at the fact that he had a road “named” after him in WV.
Tommy, you will be missed my friend.It just so happened that on the same day as Tommy’s funeral, our local Meetup 2.0 Group hatched a new Group of professionals to discuss and promote social media. The Floyd Meetup Group‘s inaugural meeting was both exciting and bittersweet for me due to the events earlier in the day; however as a founding member of our Roanoke Meetup 2.0 Group, I was committed to attending. Once again being the social person that I am, I posted on Facebook and Twitter that I would be attending the meeting, and I was genuinely excited to be there and meet new people.When it came time to pay, the waitress asked my Meetup partner, Patsy Stewart who John Lusher was. Patsy laughed and introduced me, thinking the waitress had heard of me. The waitress proceeded to inform us that some jewelry lady had called and provided a credit card to pay for my dinner! It took us a few minutes to figure out that it was my dear friend, Julianne Paulsen or @YrJewelryGal on Twitter. Julianne owns a jewelry store in Minnesota and is Founder and CEO of Viaggio Bracelets. Julianne had noticed my posts throughout the day, including the information about Tommy’s funeral as well as the location of our Floyd Meetup meeting; she then found the number of the restaurant and left information to pay for my dinner. Talk about a humbling experience.On the drive home, my friends tweeted about the woman that bought John’s dinner and I called Julianne to thank her. Julianne answered the phone laughing because she knew what had happened. I thanked her profusely and related the story to her about the waitress; but also discovered she has done this to friends before just to surprise them. She did this for me just to give me a smile and pick-me-up due to the events of the day. I have not yet had the pleasure to meeting Julianne in person, but I will one day and I will buy her dinner and supply the cigars! Although we have not met yet, I consider Julianne a dear friend and trusted professional.My reason for this post is to shine the light on how we live now: socially. More so than ever before, if we choose to. Whether we are grieving or celebrating; we do so publicly with our extended friends and followers.Thank you Tommy for all you taught me, and thank you Julianne for everything you are to me; I am most certainly blessed with the best friends in the world.