I was crushed.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


My encounters with Steve Jobs

December 18, 2011

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, The Post-Standard

For months, I've been reading heart-warming tributes to Steve Jobs. It's time to share two of my own encounters.

The first is just a cute little story. The second is something that rescued me from a minor disaster.

My first encounter happened when my wife, Nancy, and I were traveling through Cupertino, California, where Apple has its corporate campus. We drove around the long block that surrounds Apple's headquarters a couple of times looking for a place to park. We were in our motor home, which can't park in a standard space assigned to cars.

We had to give up. I headed back toward the front of the campus for one last look and stopped at a corner.

There he was!

Steve was walking out for lunch with a companion. (Later, I realized the guy with him must have been Jony Ive, the designer of the iMac, iPod, iPad and everything else Apple has made in the last 15 years. Steve and Jony were close friends.)

My brain went into dumdum mode and I didn't even think of reaching for my camera. I didn't know what to do, so I did what any Neanderthal would have done.

I yelled.

"Steve! Hey, Steve!"

Nothing. Not a nod. Not a single acknowledgment.

I was crushed.

OK, maybe he didn't hear me. Maybe the traffic was so noisy he just couldn't hear somebody shouting. Maybe he and Jony were too deep into a discussion about pads or pods or poodles to pay attention to anything else. Yeah. That must have been it.

Yeah. Right.

My second encounter happened during another journey. We were deep into British Columbia when my Apple account got hosed. My iPad couldn't connect to Apple's servers. When I emailed Apple's help staff, someone told me they'd fix it if I paid for an extended warranty for $29.

I was so annoyed that I fired off an email to Steve. Apple should fix the problems it created without charging customers, I told him.

(You might be wondering how I got Steve's email address. It wasn't a secret -- sjobs@apple.com. And you might be asking how I could be so naive as to expect Steve Jobs to read his own mail. Too busy, right? Wrong. Steve always read his own mail. Nobody filtered it out for him.)

I didn't get a reply. I thought maybe Steve and Jony were still busy with those pads and pods.

But the next morning, right at the start of the business day, I got a phone call from Apple support.

"Your account has been straightened out," someone told me on the phone.

And of course it was.

Thanks, Steve. Rest in peace.