This is a very personal post and I was waffling back and forth on whether I should even write it…but I needed to. It just feels right. Here goes…
I would like this to serve as both a lesson to others about the personal side of business relationships, and also as open recognition for Brad Vincent (Co-founder and Lead Developer) and Matt Cromwell (Solutions Manager) of FooPlugins.com.
What’s This All About?
As you may (or may not) know, my wife and I have a 15 month old son. One of the benefits of running my own business is that I get to be home with him most days and get to see him learn, grow, get upset, laugh, chase our dog in his walker, etc.
Needless to say, I know the nuances of his behavior.
Last week was no different other than he had a very slight fever one day that got higher in the afternoon. As you also may know, when a child doesn’t feel well, they get a bit crabby and/or snugly. In his case, he was pretty calm and just wanted to sit on my lap. We were home alone. Mom was at work.
As he was sitting on my lap in a chair, I was talking to him when he started staring at the couch on our right. I was asking him “What are you looking at?”, and “What’s over there?”, always trying to communicate and teach him different sounds and words.
After a few seconds, the look in his eyes became…well…different. Blank.
Something wasn’t right. I waved my hand in front of his face: no reaction. I picked his hand up and let go: it dropped immediately. Then I noticed that it was shaking.
He was having a seizure. I immediately dialed 911. They started the call by asking me a slew of questions which at the time I was frustrated with, but logically I know needed to be answered right away like “Do you need medical or rescue?” I need both!!! “What is your address?” Don’t you know from my phone call!? Get someone here quick!!!
Nothing Else Mattered
EMS arrived and took over. They monitored his vitals and gave him anti-seizure meds in the ambulance and assured me everything looked good and he was doing OK. I called my wife, who was just starting an hour drive home from work and told her to meet us at the ER. As you might imagine, she was a wreck and so was I.
All that mattered was that our son get through this. Nothing else.
No emails, no work tasks for that evening…nothing.
Customers Don’t Care
Now, let’s talk business for a moment. FooPlugins.com is a 24/7 business. Sure, we have support hours in place to set customer expectations, but we are constantly monitoring what’s going on with our site. Traffic, social media promotions, tweaking performance, SEO monitoring, and everything else that comes with running a digital business.
To be clear, when I say customers don’t care of course I don’t mean they wouldn’t care if they knew something like this was going on with one of our team, but they didn’t.
So if the site were to go down or if there was an urgent support ticket, they still need to be taken care of properly and swiftly.
Business Team Support
After our son had been stabilized and we were transferred to our room for the night, I sent the following email to Brad and Matt.
Everything seems ok at the moment, but my son had a seizure late this afternoon and I had to call 911.
They are keeping him overnight for monitoring and tests, but so far everything seems to point to a fever related seizure which apparently is quite common. My wife and I will be here in the hospital too.
Not sure if either of you have experienced this with your own kids, but holy shit, what terror!
I’ll update tomorrow…
I want you to notice something very specific about that email. I never asked them to pay special attention to the business. It was all implied by simply letting them know that I would be unavailable for normal business operations.
I am always confident in our team and that’s all it took for me to know that our business and our customers would continue to get the attention deserved; even if the servers running our site burst into flames;)
A small disclaimer: I am not the glue that holds our business together. It is truly a team effort every single day. It’s just that I needed to feel comfortable that those tasks I’m responsible for within the business wouldn’t be ignored.
And now for the gushy part of this post:)
The email thread above continued with more details about what had happened and very kind words of encouragement from Brad and Matt as well as stories about their own experiences with fatherhood thus far.
They are reading this for the first time, and I wanted to acknowledge them publicly to give a simple “thanks guys”.
You helped me get through a stressful situation more than you know. I’m very grateful.
Grateful to have you make up the FooPlugins.com team, and grateful to call you my friends.
Our son is doing very well:) He’s back to his normal spunky, curious, and somewhat mischievous personality.
The diagnosis was that he had a Febrile Seizure. This is a seizure associated with fevers and apparently is quite common in the grand scheme of things. About 1 in every 25 children. You can read more about Febrile Seizures here.