Lessons from a Car Accident

Hi, Everyone!

I received Dave Miller’s newsletter today, and his lead article really caught my eye! The fact that he has found a message of value for business professionals from a near-catastrophe is truly a testament to his personal tension management skills!


Lessons from a Car Accident by Dave Miller

The Accident

It was after 10 pm on a Saturday night and my wife, Joanne, was driving my daughter, Lindsey and two friends to a friend’s house for a sleepover.  They were cruising at 40 mph down a back road, one that has very little traffic.

Fear gripped Joanne as another car was suddenly crossing this road in front of her.  Having absolutely no time to react, she screamed, heard the sound of bending metal and shattering glass, and ended up off the road.

Bottom line: both cars were totaled, all air bags were deployed, nobody was hurt (thank God!).   The car Joanne hit was driven by a sixteen year-old boy, Eric, who had his license for only two days.  He had thought the road was clear before he proceeded to cross the intersection (there was a bit of a blind spot, that made the intersection more challenging for an inexperienced driver).  Again, I am grateful that everyone was unhurt.

It’s A Small World

Why am I telling you this story? It’s what happened over the next few days that got me thinking of the power of relationships and connections.  First, we did not know this boy, Eric, who lives in a town about 10 miles away from where the accident occurred.  But a strange set of connections were revealed.  Now stay with me as I walk you through the details.

1) Four days later, Joanne’s boss, Susan, emailed her and asked Joanne about the accident.  The weird thing was that Joanne had not told Susan about the accident because Susan was away on a business trip.  She never had an opportunity.

How did Susan know?  Bear with me, I’ll try to keep this simple.

2) Three days after the accident, we took our son and five of his friends to play paintball for his birthday.  Now keep in mind that this paintball facility was about 15 miles from where the accident occurred. Brian, a teenager, was their guide and referee.

During one of the breaks between rounds, as the kids were reloading, Joanne mentioned to Brian that it had been a tough week because she was in an accident with a sixteen year old driver.  Brian asked, “Was it a blue (he named the make of the car)?”  Joanne said, “Yes, how did you know?”  It turns out that Brian dated Eric’s older sister!

Small world, isn’t it?  But I still haven’t explained how Susan (Joanne’s boss) knew about the accident.

3) Here it is: Brian texted Eric saying, “I’m with Joanne Miller, the woman you hit three days ago.”  Eric received the message on his phone while he was with his friend, Morgan.  Who is Morgan?  Morgan is Susan’s teenage daughter! And even though Eric and Morgan don’t live in the same town or attend the same school, they grew up together and remained friends.

Accidental Networking

Networking is all about making connections.  This was accidental networking.  It can become a spider-web of relationships, but let’s summarize just the path that connect Joanne and Susan around the accident:

Brian – is Joanne’s son’s paintball guide and referee.  He is also Eric’s sister’s ex-boyfriend.

Eric – was in Joanne’s life because his car collided with hers.  He is also Morgan’s good friend.

Morgan – happened to see the text from Brian arrive.  She is also the daughter of  Susan, Joanne’s boss.

Susan – heard about the accident from Morgan and reached out to Joanne.

Now if these kind of connections can be established by accident, what would happen if you became intentional with your networking and sought out to harness the power of the “six degrees of separation.”


To subscribe to Dave’s newsletter, visit his website:

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If you’ve enjoyed Dave’s article, please send him an email, or leave a comment here on the blog.

We’re certainly glad that everyone is well, Dave!



2 Responses to Lessons from a Car Accident

  1. mistyrose7 says:

    Amazing story Dave. Thank you for giving our minds a new perspective on networking.

  2. T. Waldmann-Williams says:

    Six degrees of separation seems now to be down to two. Thanks for sharing.

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