A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Your Inbox

We’ve all experienced that heart-in-your-throat moment:  “Wait.  Did I hit Reply or Reply to All?

nervous on computerYou cautiously check your sent messages.  You want to look, you are afraid to look… you have to look.

Or even worse.

You don’t realize your mistake until the responses start pouring in.

reply to all cartoon

You may remember the student from NYU that meant to forward an email from the bursar’s office to his mother, but instead hit ‘reply to all.’  An event that became known as Reply-Allpocalyse.  This one was tame, the students joined in and had a good time with it; the only victim was NYU’s email server.

Then there was this poor guy.  His boss sent out a company wide email giving directives on a new project.  He meant to forward the email to a coworker in which he added honest assessments of their colleagues, and how valuable they would be on the project – but he hit ‘reply all’.  Everyone in the company received the email, including the colleagues he was speaking about.

We recently had an email mix-up at work.  While it was no ‘Reply-Allpocalyse,’ we all got a chuckle about it.  The main characters are Chris (a Telovite), Maja (who wasn’t supposed to get the email) and Christian (who was).  Here’s the story:

We had a couple of busy weeks recently, between Thanksgiving Holiday call traffic, vacation time and illnesses. This lead to a very hectic communications exchange and at some point some wires got crossed. Chris went to his inbox to respond to a recent email from Christian.  Instead of opening Christian’s email, he inadvertently opened an email from Maja.  He began to address Christian’s issue.

At the last second Chris realized he was supposed to send the information to Christian and his name was not in the To or CC field. He quickly added Christian’s name without any thought to Maja’s email address being in the To field.

The email was sent – and here’s what happened:

Maja:  I am curious, why did you CC Christian?

Chris:  I’m sorry, Maja. Please ignore my previous email. That one was not intended for you and was on a completely separate subject for another client.

Christian:  Just an FYI, you sent this to another client as yours as well. Not sure if this was meant for her, for me, or both.

Chris:  Thank you, Christian. I was working Maja’s issue around the same time and started back up with the wrong draft. I’ve emailed her an apology. Thanks for catching my mistake.

Christian:  It’s ok, I actually know her from a past job so if anything that was a fortuitous mistake as we are now catching up.

And Maja also wrote me back:

Maja:  I only ask because I worked with Christian 12 years ago and last week I wanted to look him up on LinkedIn. When I saw his name, I thought to myself, I wonder if this is the same Christian? And then I got below email……life is crazy sometimes.

Christian included this in one of his replies:

From Christian to Maja:  Not sure why Chris sent this to both of us, but your name rang a bell and after a quick look-up I realized I did in fact know you. Way back around 2000, I was consulting at Student Resources I think it was called, and we worked together for about a year. I want to say Diana was our coordinator.

Anyway, glad to see your doing well. I enjoyed our time there together, not so much the work but the conversations. I still go to all the good Croatian bakeries you told me about. And in fact I have been to Croatia several times since then, along with Slovenia, Montenegro and Serbia.

They continued an email exchange, catching up as old friends.

Maja is right – life is crazy sometimes.  It’s the unexpected moments, like reconnecting with an old friends, that make it so sweet.



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