You Hit “Send” Too Soon? Tell Us About It

Last Sunday's Washington Post magazine ran this request in its Editor's Query section: Tell us about a time when you hit the "send" button too soon. The winning entry was about a man entreating his wife, Anne, via e-mail to go on a backpacking vacation with him. Among other sweet sentences, he wrote: "…We'll make love under the rays of the desert moon. Please say yes, Sweetie." Of course, he hit Send too soon and dispatched the e-mail "… across town to the wrong Ann, a lovely, single woman who taught classes with me at our church."

Tell us your favorite Hit-Send-Too-Soon story. It can feature you as the sender or the recipient. Reading these stories will make us all feel better. And you can change the names to protect the innocent (or guilty).

I'm too embarrassed to tell you any of the real stories of my hitting Send too soon, but I can tell you a story a client told me. One day at work, he was riding in the elevator when the CEO of the 1000-employee company got on. The CEO looked terrible: ashen, tired, distracted. So, the employee said, "Sir, I hate to pry but is everything OK? You look quite upset." The CEO answered, "Thank you for asking. I haven't told anyone this yet, but I have just received a prostate cancer diagnosis. I am going to be taking indefinite leave, and I'm planning to pursue the most aggressive treatment possible. I'd appreciate it if you'd keep this information private as I am still trying to decide how to share it with my executive team and, of course, with the entire company." The employee answered, "Of course, sir. I am just very sorry to hear about this." The CEO and the employee got off the elevator at the next floor. Still saddened, the employee rushed to his computer and wrote a quick, heartfelt e-mail to the CEO: "I am so sorry to learn of your prostate cancer diagnosis. Please know that my thoughts are with you and your family. I wish you a complete recovery. Sincerely …" And, of course, he hit Send too soon because instead of e-mailing the CEO, he e-mailed everyone in his Sales department. Yep, all 350 of them.

Ready to come clean? Tell us your tale or post it as a comment here.

— Leslie O'Flahavan

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