I won't go into the details, but today I had a day that made me want to smash things -- just exactly like the video below. This is what made it better.

A couple of weeks ago or so, I was contacted by a New York high school teacher. She has a student, Joshua, who wanted to talk to me about manned Mars exploration. I'm an outreach whore, so I cheerfully gave her my contact info for her student to Skype or call me.

The teacher warned me that Joshua might be a little shy -- but I wasn't prepared for how shy. Joshua and I set up a time for a Skype chat this weekend ... and the time came and went with no Joshua. Later, he nervously emailed me, apologizing -- at the last minute, he'd chickened out and couldn't call me. I promptly emailed him back to tell him I was around any time, but I never heard back from him.

Until tonight, when I got a call from a New York number I didn't recognize. I'm glad I picked up, because it was Joshua's mom. She explained that Joshua really wanted to talk to me but was too nervous to call, and then she laughingly put Joshua on the phone.

He was great -- he asked really smart questions, and even though I still had some residual anger from my day, I feel like I handled my end of it as well as I ever do. I could feel my day just melting off of me as I warmed to talking with him, and within half an hour we were laughing like old friends. Well, maybe it wasn't quite that good. But it was pretty good.

When Joshua reached the end of his list of questions, I had one task for him. "OK, I want you to do one thing for me," I said.

"What's that?"

"Go hug your mom."

While I was on the phone, he did exactly that. Thanks, Joshua. And thanks, Joshua's mom.
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tim hem's profile photoScott “marsroverdriver” Maxwell's profile photoJorge Ochoa-Lions's profile photoJames Field's profile photo
11 comments
 
Thanks for the story, but especially thanks for taking the time to talk to a space "fan" :)
 
Thank you for sharing! I love happy stories. 

I'm glad your day got to end on a good note. 
 
We all could use a Joshua once in awhile.  
 
So sweet! Sorry about the smashing day but glad it ended well.
 
Yep, agree!  Good on you, +Scott Maxwell.  You never know...that kid could grow up to be the next Carl Sagan, or Neil D. Tyson, or Scott Maxwell!
 
+Scott Maxwell These are the stories that melt my heart. As someone who holds science dearly...and gets to do community management for science on G+... this makes me sure that the work that you and your colleagues are doing is that more impactful. Please keep these stories coming! I love hearing them and sharing with the team at Google. 
 
What if I want to talk space with you? Do I need someone to give a hug first... or do I need to smash guitars? I'm confused!
Anks D
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I too had a bad day but I am feeling better after reading this story. Thanks for sharing this story with us and making me feel better.
tim hem
 
I was watching some of the youtube clips of stargazing live, as I missed it when it was transmitted..
noticed someone in the comments refer to you as the Keanu Reeves of NASA.... thought you may like that.
keep dropping the red pills dude
 
+tim hem I used to get that a lot, especially when I wore these sunglasses that looked like Keanu's in The Matrix. I vividly remember one time I was wearing them at a strip mall and the security guard said, "Hey, Neo!" Now I wear different sunglasses. :-) 
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