What are the chances of two old high school buddies from rural Vermont running into each other at a pediatrician's office six states and a Mason Dixon line away?
Before June 28, PCC's Shawn Carroll would probably have said slim to none.
Then along came June 28 and a chance encounter with a girl who sat with him in all the same classes in the late 1980's and early 90's, back when George (H.W.) Bush was president and acid-wash jeans were hot.
Yup. Carroll, PCC's technical architect, had a random encounter with one-time classmate, Laurie Brown, with whom he spent four years at Mill River Union High School in North Clarendon, VT, population – 1,663.
But let's back up, so we can tell it right, to June 26, when Carroll touched down in Raleigh, NC. He was charged with visiting Cary Pediatric Center and its two satellite offices, to analyze and monitor network performance at each location. The trip spanned three days in all, from Tuesday to Thursday.
After receiving a tour of the main office on Tuesday, Carroll drove 30 minutes south the next morning, to Cary's office in Fuquay-Varina. Our story begins to unfold on this day at lunchtime, when Carroll grabbed a bite to eat at Jersey Mike's (a Northeast-style sub franchise, of all things) and returned to the office with some food and a single chocolate chip cookie, which became the envy of the front desk staff.
The next day, Carroll arrived for his last day's work at the Fuquay-Varina office carrying enough cookies for everyone. It was while passing out cookies that he noticed a nurse he had not met the day before.
No sooner had Carroll uttered the words, “how would you like a cookie?” to this nurse, than he remembered the face. It was his old school chum, Laurie Brown. Same hair, same smile, same everything – minus the Southern accent she'd acquired.
“Sure ... hi, I'm Laurie,” Brown responded to Carroll's offer. She didn't recognize the man who long ago traded in his big, curly afro for a closer cropped cut.
“I knew she didn't know who I was,” Carroll recently recounted, “so I introduced myself by saying 'Hi, I'm Shawn Carroll and I went to Mill river High School in North Clarendon, VT.' She looked stunned for a minute, then gave me a big hug. She described our meeting as a 'blast from the past.'”
From there, Carroll and Brown took a few minutes to reminisce about the class of 1992. Back then, they were among a graduating class of only 120 students, so everyone pretty much knew everyone else.
Unfortunately, we couldn't catch up with Brown on the phone, but she had this to say in a recent e-mail – “It was quite a shock to run into a high school classmate here, in North Carolina.”
“It was a really nice chance encounter,” Carroll agreed.