Little Dots … Mean a Lot


Karen Altom. Yes, that is my name. It is also the name of a lady who lives in Texarkana, Arkansas.

I learned of this other Karen a couple of years ago when I received an email from a doctor’s office in Little Rock, Arkansas. They were confirming my appointment. I called to inform them I am not that Karen Altom. I explained that someone had probably inadvertently entered the wrong email. You see, mine has a “dot” between karen and altom and hers does not. They didn’t want to be bothered. I told them they might want to let her know. They said “probably won’t,” and that was the end of it.

A few months ago, I got another of these emails and decided I would just forward it to the karenaltom email…the one without the dot. But that one came to me, too! Apparently, this is not an entry problem, but an email provider problem. Hmmm. So I did a test…dot or no dot. Doesn’t matter – it all comes to me either way. Feeling that I had done what I could, I deleted the messages, feeling a little bit guilty. I think when your dad was a mail carrier for most of your life, you grow up knowing that the mail has to be delivered. Even email!

But all that has changed.

I checked my email first thing one morning and saw I had received several different emails from a retailer congratulating me on my new rewards account. I was sent numerous coupons and thank you messages, along with my receipt from the purchase I made at a Texarkana shopping center. There were about 6-8 of these emails. “So, here we go again,” I thought.

I looked through the emails, and voila! One of them included the email (no help) and phone number for the Texarkana Karen. I took a shot that it might be a cell and sent a text.

Hi, I am Karen Altom and live in Huntsville, Texas. Apparently, we have similar email addresses and I am getting some of your email. It seems to be a provider issue. Just wanted you to know …This is my cell if you want to call or text. Have a nice day.

About half an hour later, she replied. Thus began a conversation between Karen Altom and Karen Altom. Turns out, we are both married to Altom men whose name starts with “W”—my Wes and her Wayne. Both family lines can be traced back to Arkansas. We may be cousins by marriage! We had a fun little visit, and I look forward to possibly meeting her one day when I drive through Texarkana. A few years ago, I would have never known there was another Karen Altom in the world. I certainly wouldn’t have gotten her email or found her cell phone number and been able to have a conversation via text. Now her number is saved in my phone as Karen Altom2 (so as not to confuse Siri, says my daughter!) and I am Facebook friends with Wayne.

And it all happened because of a dot. What a wonderful, crazy world.

Please remember to thank an advertiser and tell them Karen Altom sent you. They don’t know there are two!

Until next time ~ Karen


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