In social media we talk a lot about how important trust is. It is looked upon as a natural outgrowth of the cornerstones of social media – openness and transparency. But what if there was an even simpler and more direct way for that trust to be built. Not the trust that we think of that comes from knowing someone for a long time but a much more immediate trust that can happen within the space of literally minutes of your time.
I am prompted into this thought because of a post Chris Brogan just made to his blog about an experience that probably happened very shortly before him transcribing it to his blog. The short end of the story, and please take a minute to read the whole post as it is a few minutes you won’t regret, is that during his stay in Boston he had to take a cab and threw his suitcase into the trunk.
During the cab ride Chris and the lady driver engaged in conversation as many of us do but as he tells it there was a sharing of small life stories that when the cab ride was over left them both feeling a little better. It was after she had driven off that Chris realized that his suitcase, which also contained his Nikon D60 camera, was still in the trunk of the cab.
After trying the usual route to track down the driver and the cab Chris finally had to head into his meeting with the feeling that this was the last he would see of his camera and other belongings. That is pretty well how any one of us would have felt if we were in Chris’ shoes I would imagine.
At this point, I’m fairly sure my bag is gone. I’m reasonably sure this woman will discover the bag, and if she chooses to turn it in, will no doubt keep the camera. There’s no reason for her not to do so. And having just watched a TV news undercover report on how honest people aren’t (17 out of 17 people failed a simple test), I wasn’t feeling especially positive about my chances.
Flash forward about an hour and a half from when I realized the bag is gone. I’ve been to three appointments and lunch. I’m now standing exactly where the woman dropped me off. I am on a phone call when I look over and I see her pull up. Yes, the cab driver who has my bag has just pulled back up.
“I figured you were in a meeting, so I waited about an hour and then came back.”
I can’t believe this. There’s my bag. Completely intact. I give her a big hug, give her money equivalent to 2x the original cab ride (which probably still isn’t enough, given how much she saved me), and we part.
I have thought about this post of Chris’ and while the fact that he got his belongings back is great in of itself it got me to thinking about something. Where most of us go through our days with hundreds of little conversations much like Chris and the cab driver at what point in those conversations does honesty come into the equation?
As Chris pointed out in his post the conversation he and the lady cab driver had wasn’t the typical “how’s the weather” or “did you catch the game last night?” conversation. No, their conversation was about bits of their individual lives and spoken in such a way as to promote a sense of trust between two people who had never met before and chances are would never meet again.
If the idea of social media is to promote things like openness, transparency and trust could what happened with Chris and the lady cab driver be considered a social moment? After all there was some sort of connection made between two people totally unknown to each other that by all appearances happened within the short space of an honest conversation.
All within a short once in a lifetime conversation.