CultureSmith NotecardYou never know what might happen when you take the time to handwrite a note. The other day I wrote to Chris Brogan, thanking him for the impact he’s had on me at this phase of my business. I sincerely appreciate his willingness to share information, not to mention the fact that he’s a genius! I expected nothing in return. On Friday, Chris surprised me with a blog entry about the CultureSmith notecard and even included the above photo. Already, it’s generated some additional traffic to my website and helped me add a few more followers on Twitter.

St. Patrick’s Day Meeting
On March 18, 2002 I received a handwritten note that changed the course of my life. Just the day before, on St. Patrick’s Day, I was returning to Lynchburg from Dallas after presenting at a statewide conference for chamber of commerce professionals. My itinerary included a brief layover in Pittsburg.

It was there that I first noticed a tall man with two small children. When I say “noticed,” I mean because he was 6’5″ tall. I’m 5’11″. It’s not every day that I see men I have to look up to. I wasn’t really thinkin’ anything else. I mean, he had two small children with him, right?

On the flight to Lynchburg, said tall man and two small children were seated in the row in front of me. Come to find out, his son was four and daughter, 18 months old. I love kids, so I played peek-a-boo with the toddler and occasionally caught the eye of the four-year old. All three of them had beautiful blue eyes.

Baggage Claim Isn’t All Bad
When we arrived in Lynchburg, passengers from our very full flight gathered around baggage claim awaiting their luggage. And then there were three. We waited…and waited. No luggage.

I’ve never been accused of being shy. My extroverted personality and customer service training, paired with networking advice from Harvey Mackay’s books and my experience in the chamber industry compelled me to introduce myself. There was a drug rep and the tall man, Peter. He and I had a brief conversation:

“Thanks for playing with my kids,” he said.
I replied, “no problem. It made me miss my own. I can’t wait to see them.”
He said, “Are they with your husband?”
“Ex-husband,” I offered.
“Yeah, me too. It sucks doesn’t it?” was his reply. I nodded.

Shortly after that, we moved to the ticket counter and filled out the necessary paperwork so that hopefully, our luggage would be returned to us in a timely manner. I recognized the lady at the ticket counter as someone with whom I used to work at Belk, a family-owned department store. We chatted for a bit and I left to go get my babies (at the time Sweet Pea was 6 and Ninja Boy was 4) from my ex.

The next day a green bag similar to mine arrived at my office. The name on the luggage tag was – you guessed it – Peter. The last name started with an M. There was a phone number, so I took a chance. I called the number and left a message saying I had his luggage at my office. Before he had a chance to return my call, someone from the airline returned with my luggage and reclaimed Peter M’s bag.

Note from PeterThe Note that Changed My Life
On the outside of my luggage was a green envelope with the logo of one of Lynchburg’s major employers and the words “Strictly Private.” Someone had my attention.

Evidently, Peter remembered my name and that my friend worked for the airline. He went back to his office, penned the note, went back to the airport and asked my friend if she could give the note to me along with my luggage. Thankfully, she did!

A few days later, Peter Smith and I met for coffee at a Givens Bookstore. He was in the middle of a tough divorce and I had been there, done that. We talked for what seemed like hours. We shared stories and began a great friendship. Who knew four years later, we would end up married? (Part Two coming soon.)

You Never Know
Rather than click “send” the next time you want to make an impression, why not get out a pen and a note card? In our very high tech society, a handwritten may just be the personal touch you need. Postage stamp or not, handwritten notes have the ability to go farther than you might think.

How did you feel the last time you received a handwritten note from someone? When was the last time you took the time to write a personal note? Was it effective? If so, how?