It was 8:20 am on a warm July morning and I was enjoying my latte as I did every morning day before heading out to work.
I didn’t really feel like going to the gym that morning. I knew that I had a very busy day of work ahead of me, though my first meeting wasn’t until 10:30 am.
I was 36 years old and fairly new to Facebook. I had set up my profile page approximately six months prior to my life-changing friend request. I liked to visit Facebook every morning before I started my work day, as reading my friends statuses always made me smile and at that point in my life I really needed reasons to smile. Of course, not everyone always had positive things to say, but nevertheless, I had a lot of who I think are decent and conscientious people on my friend list. I don’t know how this happened, but I was somehow able to make a total of 153 friends in six months! I don’t think that I have ever made that many “real live” friends in my entire life!
That day, I was particularly eager to visit Facebook because I had written to a very close friend of mine with whom I went to elementary school and had not heard from in over 20 years. (Yes, I ended up finding her on Facebook!)
As I opened my page, I saw that I had a message! I was so delighted that she had written back so quickly and that I had contacted the right person.
To my surprise, it wasn’t her. It was actually an email from someone I didn’t know, a man named Cameron. He was very attractive, or at least his profile picture was very appealing to me. It wasn’t the first time I had received a friend request from a stranger but this was the first request I had ever received with an actual message attached to it. This man had taken the time to tell me why he was sending me a friend request. I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t ask myself a million questions, like “What does he really want?”, “Is he really who he says he is?”, “Why is he saying these nice things to me if he doesn’t know me?”, “Why does he even want to be my friend?” and “Does he simply want to snoop around in my profile?” The list of questions went on and on. There are many types of people in this world and one can surely find them all on Facebook! I know that this may sound a little crazy to some people but after thinking about it for a few days; I finally decided to accept his friend request and step out of my comfort zone. I realize that it took me a long time to think about it, but remember, I was new to all of this. For once, I didn’t listen to that little voice inside that says, “Sonia, don’t do it.” I never thought in a million years that clicking the word “Accept” on a social media site would have such a huge impact on my life. He had mentioned in his first email that he had decided to devote his life to helping others. Little did I realize how true that was until he completely affected mine.
HIS MESSAGE READ:
July 4, 2008, 11:13 am
My name is Cameron. I live in Australia and have seen comments that you have posted on several of my friends’ pages. These comments are always so positive and make me smile. Not only are your comments always so cute, but you seem to attract others to write positive comments as well. Although I know nothing about you, there is something about you that is so familiar, and it seems like I already know you. I hope these words don’t freak you out. I promise, I am not a psycho nor am I a stalker. Something inside of me inspired me to write to you. I know that people have reported a lot of bad things that go on here on Facebook, but please be reassured that this is nothing like that. (As if you are going to just take my word for it!) Ok, first, I feel it’s important to tell you that for the past year I have been trying to help this little boy here in Australia that suffers from a very rare disease. I am doing what I can to attract attention and get people all over the world to help him in any way possible. I feel very hopeless and only wish that I could snap my fingers and make him better. I have decided that I am going to devote the rest of my life to helping others. Basically, Sonia, I am sending you a friend request today and I would be honoured to have you among my friends. I have no doubt that you are an amazing person and that I could learn a great deal from you. I am just hoping that you sense the same thing from me. I will understand if you don’t accept my request or if you just simply ignore it.
Kindly sending you smiles,
CONFIRM OR IGNORE
July 7, 2008, 8:50 am
Thank you for your honest and most authentic email and friend request. I have to admit, you definitely caught my attention! I would also like to thank you for the compliments. It most definitely made me smile to read all of those kind words about me. I try to be as positive as I can. I believe that a positive attitude can only bring good to our lives. Every day I work very hard to see the positive in all challenges that life brings my way. I am so sorry to hear about the little boy. I wish I could help! I do not have the means to donate money at this time, though I can help pass along the word to create awareness. I would be more than happy to help you help him. On another note, I would like to tell you that I never accept friend requests from people that I have never met or from people that I don’t know. I have to admit, I am a little stressed about the whole thing. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not a child but I am new to Facebook. I have heard a few crazy stories about people trying to pretend to be someone they are not in order to find out certain information or simply for no reason at all. Some people have totally boring lives and get their kicks off re-inventing themselves on different social networks. Facebook is like opening up our entire lives to the world. It’s a little scary, I must say. Nonetheless, from your email you seem to be honest, honourable, caring and very straightforward. It’s weird that I can get that vibe from a simple email, isn’t it? Well, sometimes we just have to listen and trust our instincts. I did find it quite bizarre that you would write to me and say so many nice things without even knowing me. Yes, I did think that you might be a little “creepy” and asked myself if you were “for real,” since people today don’t just write nice things to strangers! It’s difficult enough to get compliments from our own family and friends. I will trust my gut feeling and will accept your friend request. I think that it’s important that I tell you that I am accepting it because of the way that you ended and signed off in your email...very original, I must say!
Kindly sending you smiles back,
I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t immediately visit Cameron’s profile after I clicked the Confirm button.
I was so anxious to see who he was and what he was all about! I was hoping that his page would be filled with pictures so that I could see his face, so that I could see what kind of life he was living! In my opinion, pictures are worth a million words. We can tell a lot about a person, especially on Facebook, by the pictures they post. I didn’t want to be quick to judge him solely on his pictures, but I have to admit that pictures do speak. I wondered if he was a family man. Maybe he was a party guy? What did he do for a living? Was he married? I didn’t think so since his friend request was so, well, undisguised. Before I knew it, I was interested in knowing more. He had managed to catch my attention, which was rare those days. No man had been able to attract my curiosity in over two years. As I clicked on his name, I was brought to his page when all of my fears and doubts about him disappeared! After getting a better look at his picture, I noticed how young and handsome he looked. His status said “single” and I was very happy about that. There was no way that I was going to let myself get into any kind of trouble. I had never seen a profile like his before. It was a picture of himself with a baby koala bear and there were even pictures on his profile page of him posing with kangaroos. It seemed as though he owned a zoo or something. I can’t begin to describe what I saw. It seemed as though his best friend was that little baby koala bear that I saw on his profile picture!
My mind couldn’t make sense of it. To me, it was like he lived in another world. The animals seemed to love him so much that I actually thought that the pictures were somehow fake. However, they turned out to be the furthest thing from fake. In one picture there was a wallaby (kind of kangaroo) sitting straight up on a couch with an actual livingroom setting in the background. It seemed as though the wallaby actually owned that couch. It was very bizarre to tell you the truth. In another picture, the koala bear was literally laying on a kitchen table, which was when I really began thinking this was a joke. As I continued to look through his profile, I noticed that he had a lot of pictures of stunning diamonds. Some of the pictures actually took my breath away! I wondered why he had so many photos of diamonds on his profile page. Seeing that he was a man, this seemed quite odd to me. I quickly noticed more pictures of diamonds but these had special shapes and many different colours. I stopped for a second and realized I had forgotten to go to his information page! What was I thinking? As I opened this page, my scepticism about the diamonds became clearer, as I learned that he was a diamond dealer and cutter! As I explored his page further, I found pictures of him actually cutting some diamonds. I had never stopped to think about how they were cut before and all of a sudden it became so interesting to me. I wondered how he came about choosing this profession to make a living. At that moment, in my mind, he was an artist! I had to ask him about his career and about all of the beautiful rocks in his photos. Was it him who cut all of them? I couldn’t forget to ask him about all of the koala bears and the wallabies that I saw him posing with in his pictures! Needless to say, I was extremely excited to write back to him.
July 9, 2008, 9:09 am
Good morning Cameron,
I believe that it is currently night time for you right now. If I am not mistaken, there is a whole 14-hour difference between us. Is that correct? That`s a big time difference! If my calculations are correct, it is exactly 11:09 pm for you right now. In that case, I hope that you had an amazing day! I wanted to tell you that I glanced over your profile page and found it to be very original and quite captivating. It’s most definitely not like any other profile I have visited before. I am very intrigued to find out how old you are. I must admit that you look very young. If I may, I would like to take a guess and say that you are approximately 35 years old? Please, don’t hold me accountable if I am wrong! Oh, what if you are younger? I don’t want to insult you. I took the liberty of looking through some of your pictures. I have never seen so many beautiful koala bears. Do you own a zoo or something? Where were those pictures taken? It looks like you are best friends with those baby bears. Are they dangerous? If they are, you don’t seem scared at all! As a matter of fact, you seem to be in your element and rather happy and comfortable around them. What is a koala bear doing on a kitchen table and a wallaby doing on a couch? That is very bizarre and unheard of for me in my world and in my reality. The only time we see animals of that kind over here in Montreal is at the zoo. On another note, I saw stunning diamonds in one of your picture albums. They are all so unique and colourful. Did you cut all of them yourself? Where do they come from? Am I correct when I say that it looks like the diamonds are very high in quality? Are you a diamond dealer by trade? If that is the case, you seem to be very involved in your work. I say this because of the quality of the pictures and the way that you have it all set up on your profile. It is very professional I must admit. Ok, I am finished with the questions for today. I hope that you have an awesome day tomorrow!
July 10, 2008, 1:33 am
As you already know, I live in Australia, Sydney to be precise. I definitely do not own a zoo. I don’t know if you have ever visited Australia but here you will find all kinds of exotic animals such as koala bears, wallabies, kangaroos, dingoes, lizards, snakes and the ``famous`` Tasmanian devil. One of the koalas, the one in my profile picture, lives with me in my house and the wallaby that you saw on the couch is my sister`s pet. Honestly, it`s not really her pet. She is its care taker and has a licence to attend to it. The poor thing was found on the side of the road with a broken leg a few months ago. She is nursing it back to health. There is a sanctuary about an hour away from my home where I visit kangaroos and koalas on a regular basis. There, we are allowed to cuddle with the koalas and hand feed the kangaroos. In Australia, there are many privately owned game farms and plenty of wild life. I personally have always loved koalas...and at one time had two living with me!
Thank you so much for the compliments about the diamonds on my profile page. Yes, I did cut them all myself. The rocks that I deal and cut all have one thing in common. They are all coloured diamonds. I chose this because when a diamond with a colour is cut, its value increases considerably. The challenge is changing a rough stone into a beautiful gem. It takes special tools and techniques to do this because of the harness of the diamonds. There are no two pieces alike and yes, they are all cut by hand. I put my heart and soul into every piece. To make a long story short, I am a diamond manufacturer. I own a web site where clients can actually design their own jewellery. The link is on my profile page if you want to go and check it out. The factory is located approximately one hour from my house. I love my job because people who walk in to buy a diamond are looking to make someone else happy. For me, making people happy is what life is all about. It’s what MY life is all about.
I have to be honest with you at this point, Sonia. After going through your profile and writing comments on just about all your photos, I deleted all my comments and decided to just send you this one message. I took my time while visiting your profile and I saw all of your pictures. Sometimes, I even looked at some pictures more than once. Every time I click on that picture, the one where you have beautiful long blond hair, my heart almost stops. Then, when I saw the car you own, which happens to be my favourite at the moment, I couldn’t believe it! It was when I noticed that you live in Montreal, which always has me captivated and fascinated on the travel channel, that I realized you are amazing!
I have to tell you that at this point I was happy that I had accepted Cameron’s friend request. He seemed to have a fascinating life. I had never met anyone from Australia before. I had never even thought of travelling there. After seeing his pictures, I was most certainly interested in learning more about his country. In all honesty, this was the very first time that I had exchanged emails on Facebook with someone other than a long-time or long-lost friend. I had just met Cameron on this fabulous site and we had actually begun exchanging delightful and fun emails. It is important at this point that I tell you a little bit about myself, about what state of mind and what financial position I was in at that time. I had been running my own marketing business for over four years; but as a single mother it wasn`t easy. I had to take my children to and from school every day, accompany them to their hockey and soccer games, and be present whenever they had tournaments, special games and special events at their schools. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mother. It’s just that doing it all by myself had become difficult. Even though I wanted to be a superwoman, I had finally realized that I couldn’t. I didn’t have a regular 9 to 5 job so I had to manage my time properly, and I wasn’t good at doing that.
I say things hadn’t been easy because I lost my biggest client to a very stupid business choice that I‘d made. I let myself get influenced by someone who recommended that I change fields. You see, I am a marketing consultant for the restaurant industry. It’s what I know best. However, I let someone convince me that I should broaden my horizons and offer my consulting to his real estate company. I saw it as a huge opportunity and a chance to make more money. I mean, who doesn’t want to get their hands on some real estate? You will learn more a little further on about this someone, but for now, what’s important is that I had made a bad business decision and at that point in time I was paying for it. I needed to find new clients quickly. It was difficult to do because the economy wasn’t doing well and restaurateurs were a little reluctant to invest money in advertising and consulting. I knew that it wasn’t going to last forever but it most certainly seemed like that at the time. I was three payments late on my mortgage. My car payments were two months late and I had four different collection agencies calling me non-stop. I owed money to the cell phone company, to my Internet provider and to my home landline provider. My credit margin was over its limit by a lot and I had stopped making the payments. I had actually switched to another cell phone company and to another Internet provider since my original one had cut off my services. I would be lying if I told you that my morale wasn’t extremely low. I felt like a terrible mother because I was focused on the fact that I owed so much money. Fortunately, my children were in Greece for the summer and they had no idea what I was going through. I had managed to keep a smile on my face throughout the whole thing, as I didn’t want them to worry about anything. That was my job as a mother. I had just come out of a very traumatic two-year relationship with the “someone” I mentioned above. I had promised myself that I would never open up my heart to another man ever again! My heart had been broken again and my trust had been betrayed. I was terrible in relationships. I was in a very dark place. My hair had been blonde since the day I was born, but not long after my disastrous last relationship, I dyed it black. I needed to change my look, my life and desperately needed to get my confidence back. This friend request from Cameron was helping me get my mind off all the negative things that were going on in my life. What you are about to read is a little bit about my past, especially some details of my relationship with the fathers of my children. It was like therapy telling Cameron about them. You will learn more about my famous adventure with the man that betrayed me a little later on. After all, I didn’t want to pile it all on Cameron right away! As the conversations between Cameron and I progress, you will also begin to notice how close and intimate we ultimately became.