Alex, the paint store manager, and I shared a moment today.
I was returning from a visit to our new home in Sarasota when I decided, on impulse, to stop at the Sherwin-Williams store nearby instead of driving to my usual paint shop, now 90 minutes away. We are getting ready to sell our condo, and I wanted to do some touch-up.
I would have had buckets of leftover paint from our recent remodeling. But after Hurricane Ian, when everyone was in the mood to get rid of “stuff,” I pitched about eight gallons from our storage area in the garage.
So, now I needed small cans of colors that were at least two years old. In these days of rapid obsolescence, two years is the equivalent of 20 in product life. Who knew what I would find.
I only wanted one can of “satin.” The other two had to be “flat.” Alex was helpful, but I could also tell he was skeptical about being able to produce what I needed when I couldn’t even give him paint numbers.
“How about I call my former store in Port Charlotte? They’ll know,” I said.
To my amazement, the store’s number was still in my phone and was workable even though the business had been sold and undergone a name change. Soon I was on the phone with Bill. I explained the situation and told him I was sure he would have a paint record for our condo. And if he did, I needed him to share it with the manager at the new store. He agreed, and I handed the phone to Alex.
There was a minute of conversation when all of a sudden, a strange look crossed Alex’s face. “Is this my Bill,” he said, shocked and apparently delighted at the same time.
I didn’t hear what Bill had to say because Alex put the phone to his ear and chatted for several minutes.
When the paint issues had been resolved and the call ended, Alex told me the story:
Bill had mentored young Alex when he started working for Sherwin-Williams. The two men had been close and then one day Bill left, saying in his resignation letter that Alex should have his own store to manage. Time had passed and the two had lost track of each other. Until today.
Alex told me that he and Bill would be talking later. As he prepared the cans of paint for me, he could barely contain his enthusiasm – and his gratitude. He thanked me profusely for reuniting him and his mentor and for bringing back a meaningful part of his past.
I was moved by his story and glad to be a part of it, although it was not my doing. “I would say fate had a hand in this, wouldn’t you?” He grinned and we shook hands. It was a good day.