A MEETING OF CHAT ROOM FRIENDS
Hug for Cindy.
WARNING: Be careful of people you meet in an online chatroom.
They often aren’t who or what they claim to be.
As we pulled into the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, we saw an attractive blonde woman standing by a gold car.
“That must be Cindy,” Monte said as he maneuvered our car into its parking slot. “It looks like her picture.”
Cindy recognized Monte too, from seeing pictures of him on my online magazine, CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS http://www.carolyncholland.wordpress.com As he exited the car she walked over to us.
Monte and Cindy were acquaintances in the Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide chat room, where each are active contributors.
This wasn’t the first time we’d personally greeted a chat room acquaintance. Several years ago we met a woman in Bar Harbor whom I’d communicated with in another chat room. She had provided me with information on my Lamoine, Maine, ancestors that had increased my understanding of Downeast Maine. We thanked her by taking her to dinner when we next visited Lamoine. After the chat room closed we lost contact.
Scheduling difficulties had prevented Monte and Cindy from meeting at an earlier date when Cindy attended a conference near our community.
On July 11, 2013, Monte and I were traveling to his family reunion in northern New York State, almost to the St. Lawrence River. A little detour enabled us to meet with Cindy.
Both Monte and Cindy refused doughnuts, but Monte agreed to let me bring him an ice cream slurpee of some kind. For myself I ordered coffee and a honey-dipped doughnut.
Monte and Cindy began chatting like old friends, doing so in person rather than in print on a computer screen. Their conversation was much like what you see when you visit the Upper Room site: warm, caring, compassionate, expressing concern for each other and the other “family members.” The Online community had laid a firm foundation of friendship because each was authentic in their postings.
Cindy is a pretty woman with longer-than-shoulder-length blonde hair, bangs and striking blue eyes. She wore a white blouse with a blue paisley print, accented by dusty rose pink nail polish, a jeweled watch, and multiple rings on both hands.
But her most attractive feature was her warmheartedness and congenial personality.
Their conversation centered around the Upper Room site. Cindy said she could see relationships that were forming between the site followers.
“I’m making a spread sheet—from January to May this year, 150 days…a grand total almost 1000 people posted, 100 of them regularly. Clearly, to have such an impact, people need to feel cared for,” said Monte.
“I felt so much support (when she had a problem). All the people really cared (about me). And my problem is minor in the face of the sickness and unemployment, which are more powerful.”
Both she and Monte make many comments each day, responding to and summarizing chat room comments.
“I print a hard copy and make comments from that on a word doc,” Cindy said.
“I cut and paste comments onto a word doc,” Monte said. “It does sap my energy a little, but I don’t mind, if it helps…”
“It does.” Cindy replied. “Some days I think—days when I’m up longer correcting papers, for example (she teaches)—(she might not post, but she does).”
“There’s a nice cross section of readers.”
“It’s the anonymity. People feel they can open up because nothing is known about them but their name.”
On July 12 the following comments showed up on the Upper Room:
- Comment by monte: Thanks for the wonderful meeting that Carolyn and I had with Cindy in Lock Haven. I am sure Carolyn will have a report on her blog sometime soon. (it took a while)
- Comment by Cindy: Monte, his wife Carolyn, and I met yesterday. What a wonderful couple. We had the nicest visit and it truly went too quickly. I learned so much about them, their interests, and some of their family history. Such a great opportunity to meet them! I ask for prayers for them as they continue today on their trip to a family reunion may God keep them safe in their travels. Not sure if Monte will be able to read this, but I want you to know that I said a prayer for traveling mercies for you as I pulled out of the parking lot. I regretted not praying with you and Carolyn before you left. Thanks for taking the time to go a little out of your way so we could meet. God bless you!
- Comment by Pam: (aren’t you a bit jealous of Cindy & Monte…)
- Comment by Jim: Cindy of Jersey Shore, what a blessing that you visited in person with Monte and Carolyn of Laughlintown! That’s just cool!
Yes, it was “cool.”
And most cool was that In the end, Monte and Cindy discovered the truth: they are in person who they really present themselves to be in the Upper Room chat room. They are authentic.
But I must caution people—it still pays to follow general rules when meeting someone you think you know from a chat room experience.
- They aren’t always what they present.
- Meetings should always be in a public place, with
- Someone should know who, where and when your meeting takes place.
It’s just good common sense.
NOTE: Shortly after we met her Cindy posted the following:
- July 16: Thursday after my class I am traveling to Reston, VA for a meeting, just curious any brothers or sisters close to Reston? Would love to meet up, if possible. I think the visit with Monte and Carolyn stirred me to seek out others. We had such a nice visit and it is so nice to place a face with a name. Just curious! Honestly, I’m not sure I would have time but if it would be close enough, may be.
- July 19: As an update, what a wonderful evening we had last night. Julia, Henry, and myself had such a nice visit, good food, and a wonderful time getting to know each other better. It was a lovely time and I praise God for giving us the opportunity to meet and have such a special time of fellowship. Julia and Henry, thank you so much for going out of your way to meet with me. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me. This month has been so amazing, God has given wonderful opportunities for Edd and George, Monte, Carolyn and me, and Julia, Henry, and myself to meet up. I thank God for the blessings He has placed in my life and I’m sure the others feel the same way.
Way to go!
ADDENDUM: Monte had an opportunity to meet Janet from Johnstown on Saturday. Return to Carolyn’s Compositions on Tuesday for a short report.