As most of you know, I'm an enthusiastic Barack Obama supporter and having been making cell phone calls on behalf of my favorite candidate. But this is NOT a story about Obama. Rather this incident is linked to the incredible technology the campaign has and continues to employ in linking people.
In short, those of us who want to phone from home simply log on to our mybarackobama.com homepages and can quickly and easily access call lists from any of the swing states. The setup is easy to follow and results a breeze to record, right on the sight.
And here is where this amazing incident comes in.
About 1 p.m. Chicago time today, Sunday, I logged into my site to link to a list of voters to call. I selected the swing state of Missouri and told the computer I was ready to start to work on my cell phone. A list of potential Obama supporters came up along with a script and check list to report the outcome of each call. The key is to remind people to vote and give them the details of their own polling places, hours and addresses.
So there I was, plugging along on my cell phone. About 15 calls into the list, a name came up that looked very familiar. Gilda Williams.
Now then, for years I worked at The Star, our suburban newspaper chain, with a woman with the same name ... Gilda Williams. She had moved away in the late 1990s to be with her husband, a high level government employee who had been transferred.
It had been years since I'd seen or talked with the Gilda Williams from the past. But no, this couldn't be the same woman. Of the millions of names on the people to call lists, the chance of this being the same woman I'd worked with for years was next to zero.
After all, Williams is a common American last name and while Gilda isn't a name one hears all the time, it is pretty and isn't terribly unusual either.
So I dialed (OK, punched buttons) this Gilda Williams on my phone and when I got an answering machine, I gave my name and left the "please vote for Obama message" followed by a quick comment that if by any weird chance this was the Gilda I knew, my former newspaper colleague, I could be reached at ... and gave my home phone number.
So I was going along, making my calls on my cell when the house phone rang. Don't ask how, but I just knew it would be Gilda and yes, indeed this would be the woman I'd worked with for many years.
We both were astounded by the coincidence and of course, caught up with our lives over the last 10 or so years. What a total gas.
Indeed, my phone volunteer work has made me one of millions who won't sit back and hope but rather have taken time to help get out the vote in this historic 2008 election.
But this true Obama for Change campaign story would have to take a prize, wouldn't it?
Of course, the real prize would be an Obama/Biden victory this week that will indeed take the nation in a fresh direction of hope and sanity!
Have a great week and of course, make sure you vote! myra