“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

John Lennon

Life, with its unpredictable whims, often behaves like an overenthusiastic magician, pulling unexpected rabbits out of hats just when we think we’ve figured out the trick. This space between our plans and reality often gives rise to stories brimming with humor and unforeseen twists. Such was the case with John, my former collegue, whose journey took a remarkably unexpected detour, unfolding a tale as surprising as it was unforgettable.

When John first walked through our doors, you could tell he was something special—like finding an original Van Gogh at a garage sale, only less likely to be featured on “Antiques Roadshow.” He was shy at the outset, the kind of guy who seemed more comfortable blending into the wallpaper than standing out. But give him a little nudge, and like a rare, timid flower, he’d blossom into this whirlwind of brilliant ideas, each served with a side of sophisticated charm that you couldn’t help but admire.

John was like a secret agent in the world of ideas—just when you thought you knew his cover, he’d surprise you with something new. His transformation over the years was less of a metamorphosis and more of a grand unveiling. He wasn’t just growing—he was unfolding, revealing layers of ingenuity and wit that had us all hooked.

Our business, thanks to John, didn’t just grow—it evolved. It was like watching a quiet, unassuming caterpillar turn into a butterfly, only this butterfly could code in .NET and build your tech stack. John didn’t just work with us; he changed us, turned our humble beginnings into a story worth telling, with a plot twist no one saw coming—especially not John.

As time passed, John’s ambitions, much like a well-watered plant in the sunniest spot of the garden, flourished and stretched beyond the familiar boundaries of our agency. His talents and aspirations, always nurtured and in plain sight, grew in a way that couldn’t help but seek new horizons.

He began exploring new opportunities.

Now, John wasn’t just discreet—he was the human embodiment of a secret handshake. So, when he scheduled an interview with a growing tech firm in town, it was all under wraps—a covert operation worthy of a spy novel.

The day of the interview arrived. I was at a conference in Nashville, and the stage was set for John’s seamless transition. With the precision of a ballet dancer, he completed his interview and stepped out into the world, ready to embrace his new future.

But, as fate would have it, life had other plans.

As John strolled out of the building, he was holding his laptop—a digital vault containing our ongoing projects. It was in this moment, with the laptop in his grasp, that a scene unfolded that would make even the most seasoned of drama enthusiasts drop their popcorn.

A car screeched to a halt, and a man leaped out, his eyes set on John’s computer.

What ensued was a spectacle that went far beyond a simple tug-of-war. It was a theatrical display, with John in the starring role, showcasing a level of determination and willpower that would have made even the stoic Spartans raise an eyebrow.

He clung to his laptop, driven not just by the value of the hardware, but by the precious, yet-to-be-backed-up projects it contained. In that moment, John was less a software engineer and more a gladiator, battling not for glory, but for the digital lifeblood of our work.

The struggle, however, was in vain. The thieves sped off with the laptop, leaving John in a state of shock.

But here’s the twist: this entire episode unfurled in front of the very window of the conference room where he had just interviewed, with an audience of potential future colleagues and, unbeknownst to him, a friend of mine.

Somewhere in Nashville, my phone rang.

In a plot twist worthy of a Greek tragedy (with a hint of sitcom), I received a call from my friend. “How’s John doing?” he inquired, a question that unraveled the carefully knit secrecy of John’s job hunt.

In a matter of minutes, John’s well-orchestrated plan had turned into a public spectacle, a dramatic revelation with more twists than a mountain road.

In retrospect, the incident has become a story we recount with laughter and a sense of wonder at life’s strange turns. The police eventually caught the thieves, the laptop was recovered, and John, in a stroke of poetic justice, got the job.

Our professional paths may have veered in different directions, like two squirrels chasing separate nuts, but the bond we formed over those years of collaboration held strong, unyielding. It was a bond crafted not just from shared goals and coffee-fueled late nights, but from a deep-rooted camaraderie, the kind that can weather any storm – or at least a dramatic laptop heist.

This bizarre and unexpected incident with John’s laptop was the cherry on top of a sundae we had been building scoop by scoop. It wasn’t merely a tale to chuckle over during coffee breaks; it became a symbol of the enduring connections we make. Much like a favorite old sweater, these bonds might stretch and change shape over time, but they never lose their warmth. They remind us that, despite the diverging paths we walk, the memories and laughter shared along the way linger, enriching our journey long after we’ve parted ways in the office.

John’s story is a vivid reminder that life, in all its unpredictable glory, often has a script far more interesting than anything we could conjure up. It teaches us to embrace the unexpected, to find humor in the chaos, and to remember that sometimes, the best stories are the ones we never planned to write.

So here’s to the Johns of the world, who remind us that while we may be the authors of our lives, life itself loves to throw in a plot twist every now and then, just to keep things interesting.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.