Tomasz Stasiuk is a cool guy…the kind of person you’re glad to know.
I would have never known Tomasz if I didn’t say “Yes, we can do that…”
How I Met Tomasz
I met Tomasz three years ago at a tech conference. Well, let me back up…I met Tomasz three years ago at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Tomasz lives in Colorado and was coming in for OpenCamp Dallas 2010. I live in the area, and my wife and I were looking forward to the conference. I had the day off work because construction in the area was (still is) heavy, so we planned to head to the hotel early and check in before traffic picked up. We wanted to get settled and enjoy the evening before the conference officially started. But then we saw Tomasz’s message on Twitter, asking if anyone was willing to give him a ride to the hotel.
A Great Weekend
I won’t go into my stories about picking up hitchhikers; I don’t do that anymore, but I miss the feeling of meeting someone completely new out of nowhere. So I asked my wife if she minded changing plans and picking Tomasz up at rush hour. A little searching online revealed that he [probably] wouldn’t arrive at the airport in a hockey mask with an ax and ask us to wait with him at the baggage carousel so he could retrieve a duffel bag full of severed heads.
So…worst case: we’d all have a quiet, maybe even awkward ride to the conference. We’d have still helped someone, and that’s always cool. Best case: we’d make a new friend.
I won’t bore you with details about meeting Tomasz or the conference…I’ll just say that changing our plans to pick him up was what I really expected: meeting a new person with similar interests and chatting about things we all loved. The ride to the conference was a blast, and times at the conference together were fun. We’ve stayed in touch — mostly through Google+ — and I’m confident I’ll see Tomasz again in person one day.
The Benefit of Saying Yes
It would have been so easy to ignore Tomasz’s Tweet about the ride to the conference or have said, “We’re too busy,” “We have other plans,” or, “How do we know you won’t attack us with a Garden Weasel?!” But it was even easier to say, “Sure, we pass the airport on the way and we will give you a ride to the conference.”
It was a nice weekend, full of great presentations and people. It was a break from busy times at work — a weekend spent with my wife geeking out on the technology we love. But looking back on that weekend, the best thing about it was saying yes to a complete stranger and leaving the conference with a new friend.
* * *
Another benefit of being friends with Tomasz? Getting to see cool photos of Colorado he takes, like the one used with this blog entry.