In the mid 80s, both of our families lived on a street in the village of Epron, France called Rue de la Croix Cantee. A few years after we left France, our neighbors moved from Normandy to a suburb of Paris. Time passed, he changed jobs, the children grew and life continued.
As one of the perks of his new company, he and his wife were given a weekend holiday package at the Hippodrome de Longchamp outside of Paris.
Since they did not know anyone else at the hotel, they asked to be seated for dinner at a small table with one other couple as opposed to a table with a large party of people. As the evening progressed, they began getting to know their dinner companions. To their surprise, they discovered that the other couple not only lived in Epron, but also on Rue de la Croix Cantee. In fact, they had lived there for years and were there while we and our neighbors were in Epron. Our homes were on one end of the short street and the other couple resided on the opposite end. Our old neighbors and the couple did not remember ever meeting and had to travel halfway across France to get to know each other.
Epron was a small town and we attended several local events. My neighbor and I also participated in the community tennis tournament. I imagine that we encountered the other couple, passed them on occasion and probably knew them in that casual manner people in little communities do.
Many are no doubt familiar with the principle of six degrees of separation. The theory states that a person is six steps or less away from any other person in the world through a chain of acquaintances or events. With 7.44 billion inhabitants on Earth, the concept is that we all know each and every other person in some form or fashion.
As we live life and wander through this world, perhaps we should do so with greater care in how we treat others. Maybe our words should be more measured, especially on the social networks, and our actions considerably gentler. We do not know who we might encounter along the way that might someday hold sway over a reputation, job or home, or even become our dinner companion. And no one wants another person to end a sentence badly that begins, “I know someone who knows someone who has a friend that knows you and they said…”