Where were you when the power went out?

Ten years ago today, the power went out across the Northeast and Midwest US and across Ontario, Canada. Wikipedia tells me it was the second most widespread blackout in history at the time. It took two days for many people to get their power back.

Licks Hamburgers in Barrie

Licks Hamburgers in Barrie

I remember exactly where I was ten years ago when this happened. I’ll always remember, as it’s a reminder to me of where I’ve been in life and how much things have changed since then.

I was sitting in Licks Hamburgers in Barrie, Ontario. I had just moved permanently (I hoped) to Canada after graduating University, had zero money in the bank and was working a door-to-door sales job to pay the rent of my windowless basement apartment in Thornhill. 14 hours a day, often 7 days a week – rain or shine. 100% commission – if I didn’t sell anything, I made nothing. That day I was selling Domino’s Pizza coupons in Barrie. It was steaming hot outside, and I was wearing a full suit and tie.

To be completely honest, it was right in the middle of one of the worst periods of my life.

I remember that as soon as the power went out, the restaurant manager kicked everyone out of the store for health and safety reasons. I spent the afternoon trying to sell pizza coupons to people who would ask me, “don’t you realize there’s a power outage?” My response would be, “well then you’re not missing anything on TV while you’re talking to me, are you?” As I remember, I made about $60 that day.

Two months later, I quit that job. Five months later, I got a temp gig in the Ontario Government – days before I was due to fly back to the UK because I was about to run out of money. I postponed my flight, and never took that return leg. I haven’t looked back since that day.

Feels like a lifetime ago. How things have changed. I guess I can feel pretty good about the last ten years.

Where were you when the power went out? What has changed for you since then?

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.