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Mysterious Ways
By Adam Hunter

Creating "Chance Encounters"

Today's guest blogger is Mysterious Ways assistant editor Daniel Kessel.

At Mysterious Ways, we’ve seen how perfect strangers have the power to touch our lives in positive ways. The right stranger can often see exactly what we need and go the extra mile to help, as I’ve experienced myself. Strangers can give us much-needed inspiration and even go on to rank among our best friends, renewing our faith in the world around us.

But what happens when we use modern tools to try to orchestrate these “chance encounters”? In this digital age, we can connect with nearly anybody we want to, it seems. Instead of waiting on the perfect stranger, what happens when we try to seek him or her out?

Last week, that’s what 25-year-old Reese McKee from New Zealand tried to do.

Reese had been celebrating New Year’s Eve in Hong Kong last year when he got lost. Wandering around the city and absorbed in Hong Kong’s beauty, he stumbled upon a beautiful American girl crying in the streets.

Her name was Katie, she said, and she was from Washington, D.C. She’d lost her way, too.

Reese cheered up Katie with jokes and helped her reunite with friends. He spent the rest of the night with her crew. Before they parted ways, he snapped her photograph with his phone.

Almost a year after their unexpected meeting, Reese was still thinking about her. What if she was the one meant for him? He turned to Facebook for help: With his limited information and a single photograph, he asked the social media community to help put him in touch with his mystery girl.

Unfortunately, the plan backfired. Facebookers responded perhaps too zealously, as Reese himself admitted to the New Zealand Herald: “They were starting to infringe on other people. They tracked down every Katie in the D.C. area, which is a bit much.”

The real Katie pulled down her social media profiles, according to Reese, wary of all the unwanted attention from random Internet sleuths. Reese has taken down his original post, too. Clearly he discovered that trying to force a fateful reunion through Facebook may cause unintended consequences.

That’s not to knock what social media can do. No matter how far-reaching our social networks become, though, it’s best to leave certain connections to God. Whether it’s finding the perfect pair of tour guides or bumping into the love of one’s life on the street, somehow we find the people we need without the Internet’s help.

Have you ever met someone in an amazing way? Share your story with us!

Photo credit: New Zealand Herald

Adam Hunter is a senior editor for Guideposts magazine and Managing Editor for Mysterious Ways. He’s edited Mysterious Ways since October 2006, and is continually amazed by the astounding stories shared by readers. Follow him on Twitter: @MMysteriousWays