Strange Coincidence


I used to do some freelance copywriting work for an ad agency in Cairo. One of the agency’s clients was an international hotel located by the River Nile.

One day, the MD turned on the phone intercom to let everyone hear a voice at the other end screaming. It was the hotel’s marketing director who wasn’t pleased with the quality of the hotel’s newsletter the agency had produced.

So the agency’s MD arranged for a new team to take over the newsletter’s account. I was included in the project along with an Egyptian-Greek lady who was a graphic designer.

The three of us visited the hotel’s marketing executive. During the meeting, the client took out a glossy magazine from her bookshelf and raised it as a sample of what she was expecting from us.

Now, this hotel executive had no clue who I am and where I come from. As she was flipping the pages of the magazine, praising its quality and writing style, I wondered if I should say something. Here was someone in power who could, at any moment, break the agency’s contract if she so desired.

No one else was doing the talking, but I couldn’t help myself; I was too excited to remain silent.

So I asked the client if I could have a closer look at the magazine. When she handed it over, I flipped the pages to a feature article. Then I stood up, took a step forward, and pointed to the writer’s byline. With a smile, I said, “This is me… that’s my name. I’m from Singapore. I used to work for this magazine.”

We kept the contract and I got a free lunch.

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