Steve Jobs described as 'real person' in recount of chance meeting

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A query posed on popular question-and-answer website Quora revealed an interesting tale of one man's brush with the late Steve Jobs, offering a rare glimpse into the secretive tech mogul's routine private life.

Steve Jobs


First spotted by Business Insider, the story comes from Tim Smith, Principal at Applied Design Group, who responded to the active Quora question: "What are the best stories about people randomly meeting Steve Jobs?"

Smith wrote that he would pass by Jobs' house in Palo Alto when visiting his girlfriend, whose father lived nearby, and would from time to time see the tech mogul working late into the night on his Mac.

One afternoon, his old Sunbeam Alpine, a British sports car not known for its reliability, broke down directly across from Jobs' driveway.

"Their cars weren?t there, which was a relief to me, because I was sure they would consider me some weird stalker," Smith wrote. "So I got out, popped the hood and tried to quick-fix the electrical to at least move further away ? and call AAA."

The problem turned out to be more complicated than a quick fix, and while Smith was tinkering with the electrical system, the Jobs family pulled up into the drive. Trying his best to go unnoticed, difficult since the Sunbeam was the only car on the street, Smith decided to pack it in and call AAA from his girlfriend's home.

As he started toward the house, he heard, ?British or Italian?? It was Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs' wife.

?British,? Smith replied, ?and acting like it.?

Powell Jobs asked if Smith wanted a beer, which he tried to decline, but was brought one anyway. She then called a family friend, who happened to know about Sunbeams, to come over and see if they could help.

Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs attending the 2012 State of the Union address as an honored guest. | Source: WhiteHouse.gov


"By this point I am fully resigned to whatever story is going to play out," Smith said. "It was starting to dawn on me that these were not just Silicon Valley elite ? they were real people, just helping a poor guy out."

The friend turned up wearing tuxedo with wife in tow, who was likewise "dressed to the nines." At this point Jobs himself came out to lend a hand and tried to crank the car as his friend worked under the hood. The Sunbeam was dead.

Declaring it a "piece of [expletive]" or some variation on the phrase, Jobs returned to his house. Smith was invited in to call AAA by Powell Jobs, so he followed her, "stepping over the dirty laundry you find in everyone's real house."

Steve Jobs tribute outside home
Flowers and Apples left outside Steve Jobs' home in Palo Alto after his death. Credit: Peter DaSilva/The New York Times


"You don?t often get close to people like the Jobs, much less in a ridiculous situation like this, where you realize that they are just really good people," he wrote. "They?re normal, funny, charitable, real people."

A week later, Smith returned the favor by dropping off a six-pack of beer, leaving it at the Jobs' door.

He said meeting Jobs and his family in that odd situation was one of his fondest memories.

"I saw [Jobs] in his most personal element ? family and friends ? around a broken down car in Palo Alto one night, just by chance. I was lucky ? and I was delighted," Smith wrote.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    cgjcgj Posts: 276member
    Thank heavens, there was me thinking he was a robot.
  • Reply 2 of 44


    What I would've done to meet this man...


    It's just impossible to describe.

  • Reply 3 of 44


    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    "You don't often get close to people like the Jobs, much less in a ridiculous situation like this, where you realize that they are just really good people," he wrote. "They're normal, funny, charitable, real people."


     


    "This is obviously a lie. Jobs hated charity."

  • Reply 4 of 44

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Declaring it a "piece of [expletive]" or some variation on the phrase, Jobs returned to his house. Smith was invited in to call AAA, and was surprised to see laundry strewn about like just as it would in any other "normal" person's home.


     



     


    Except it was all Levi's and black mock-turtle necks. image

  • Reply 5 of 44
    I would attach a card with my name and phone number, saying thank you from a poor guy. Steve might call back...another story...then changed my life after Steve knew more about me...
  • Reply 6 of 44
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post





    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    "You don't often get close to people like the Jobs, much less in a ridiculous situation like this, where you realize that they are just really good people," he wrote. "They're normal, funny, charitable, real people."


     


    "This is obviously a lie. Jobs hated charity."



    I agree the story has a few questionable scenes, however, I don't recall reading any statement that Jobs hated charity, he just wasn't known to contribute to organized charitable causes. Being charitable doesn't always mean donating money. Just lending a helping hand is charitable. But Laurene, on the other, hand is very involved in social programs.


     


    Perhaps I'm unusual but I have never had any desire to meet anyone just because they are famous.

  • Reply 7 of 44


    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

    I agree the story has a few questionable scenes…


     


    Oh, which? That's not what I was saying (hence quotes).


     


    And I just fixed the question marks, the bot put them back. Guess it wants to be broken.

  • Reply 8 of 44
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post





    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

    I agree the story has a few questionable scenes…


     


    Oh, which? That's not what I was saying (hence quotes).



    Just the timing. She asks which country the car is from and .....want a beer. Seems to be something missing....No but was brought one anyway....She doesn't know  what kind of car it is but has a friend in a tux who is an expert in Sunbeams... odd. And when was this? Doesn't anyone have a cell phone? Some peculiar story telling with a few missing pieces is all.

  • Reply 9 of 44


    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

    Just the timing. She asks which country the car is from and .....want a beer. Seems to be something missing....No but was brought one anyway....She doesn't know  what kind of car it is but has a friend in a tux who is an expert in Sunbeams... odd. And when was this? Doesn't anyone have a cell phone? Some peculiar story telling with a few missing pieces is all.


     


    Oh, yeah. Hmm.




    Well, could have been as early as the mid '90s.

  • Reply 10 of 44
    mstone wrote: »
    Just the timing. She asks which country the car is from and .....want a beer. Seems to be something missing....No but was brought one anyway....She doesn't know  what kind of car it is but has a friend in a tux who is an expert in Sunbeams... odd. And when was this? Doesn't anyone have a cell phone? Some peculiar story telling with a few missing pieces is all.

    Agree. Sounds like there is a little bit of breathless embellishment. Understandable, however.
  • Reply 11 of 44
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member
    Steve should have called Woz over. He would have done a Back to the Future DeLorean job on the old Sunbeam.
  • Reply 12 of 44


    Originally Posted by paxman View Post

    Steve should have called Woz over. He would have done a Back to the Future DeLorean job on the old Sunbeam.


     


    "When this baby gets up to 88 miles per hour… you're gonna hear some serious Polish jokes."

  • Reply 13 of 44
    irelandireland Posts: 17,521member
    Whatever.
  • Reply 14 of 44
    shogunshogun Posts: 360member
    I remember fondly the time I got an email back from Steve telling me I was wrong. I'd said that using Mother Theresa's image on their home page on the days after she died was tasteless and something she would have detested -- having her image and her death used to puff up a computer company and garner attention.

    "Your wrong on this" was how the email reply began. He went on to say she'd agreed to be part of their Think Different campaign.

    I wish I'd kept the email, but I was just a young guy -- didn't realize at the time it would be worth keeping. I didn't write back, either.

    Still, what confidence. You're wrong. I've known only two or three people in my whole life who could utter such a phrase unashamedly while fully and completely believing it. Not sure I agreed, but I was put in my place and very clearly felt it.
  • Reply 15 of 44
    adamcadamc Posts: 563member
    Perhaps all of us need a life and get away from the computer otherwise we will all end up psycho case. s/s
  • Reply 16 of 44
    sipsip Posts: 210member


    Laurene Powell Jobs saw a car, and knowing it was a foreign little number, asked whether it was Italian or British (the only two countries who know how to make unreliable cars). Once she got her answer, she knew who to call. No big deal.

  • Reply 17 of 44
    Know what happens if your car breaks down in front of Bill Gates' 66000 sq ft (Apple-free) mansion?

    "Release the hounds."
  • Reply 18 of 44
    Meat story sounds like it was neat, a weird and rare way to meet someone.
  • Reply 19 of 44


    Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post

    Meat story sounds like it was neat, a weird and rare way to meet someone.


     


    image

  • Reply 20 of 44
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    One thing I found interesting in this story (not the version on this site) but when beer entered the picture, the writer mentioned that Steve had one as well.

    I was under the impression that he was strict vegetarian, he and his wife even going so far as to prepare a vegetarian-only meal for President Obama when he stayed for dinner at Steve's house on one occasion.

    If anybody's ever curious as to how a strict vegetarian can die from cancer, then maybe alcohol and sushi could be the answer...
Sign In or Register to comment.