I don’t often tell this story, mainly because I don’t necessarily believe it to be true. So if you have your misgivings and doubts, I wouldn’t blame you, I have them myself. But here is my story of my encounter (if you could really call it that) with Steve Jobs:
It was in 1987 and I was working in a computer software store in a mall in Eugene, Oregon. One morning I was busy working on laying out and printing up the store’s sale flyer on our Mac Plus that we had. This was back in the day before everything in a retail store was controlled from the top down by corporate of course and we had a little bit of leeway in in store promotions, etc. Naturally I was hunched over the keyboard and mouse, sweating the details and nudging everything on screen to pixel perfect positioning. Or as best as could be with a 72 dpi screen. Still, I think for the time and technology everything looked pretty sharp.
When I was done and was getting the printout of my work the store manager rushed over and grabbed my arm and went “Do you know who was standing behind you?!”
“No,” I repled, and before we go any further, this was at a time well before I really caught the Apple fever.
“Sure it was, Sandy, sure…”
I had my doubts. I still do. But she swore it was him, and she had just finished reading “The Journey is the Reward” by Jeffrey S. Young, the first of the unauthorized Steve Jobs biographies and knew what Jobs looked like. It was also at a time right after Jobs and Apple parted company and after the founding of NeXT. At this time Jobs was apparently touring the country and going from college to college to see what an institute of higher learning would want and need out of a desktop computer system. So it’s possible, however unlikely to me, that he very well may have come to Eugene to visit the University of Oregon.
If we take what was told to me to be true, Steve Jobs stood and watched me work meticulously for several minutes as I was lost in my own world of getting it right and doing the best job that I could with the best tools that I had available to me to do it.
If we take was was told to me to be true, it also can mean that I ignored Steve Jobs standing behind me while I was off in la-la land working on flyers and not paying attention to my surroundings. Whoops. I can only hope that while I was working and my manager was up in the front of the store with me that she asked him if he needed any help.
Thank you for everything, Steve. We already miss you.