Back in 2010 I mainly did tech support for a bunch of
private customers and small businesses, including a family-run clinic that ran
tests and certified health for insurances here in Italy.
booked a vacation in October 2010 for Tokyo, Japan, and managed to
double- and triple-warn all my customers that I wouldn’t be available for the
My vacation arrives, and I’m in Tokyo.
It’s 3 am and my private (non-work related) phone rings.
Client: (from the
clinic) Where the f**k have you been? I’ve been trying to reach
you for two days.
Me: (trying to forcibly
open my eyes) Who is it?
Client: We need you in the clinic, right away, the server is stuck
Me: (still confused) Can’t it wait, it’s pretty late…
Client: We need it now! The whole customer database is unavailable
and we need the printouts for tomorrow morning.
Me: Ok, what did you do to the poor server?
I’m treated with an excessively long and carefully crafted story in which he
blames the poor server about the virus he tried to install after downloading
some porn archive via emule.)
While he’s telling this story, I put the phone on handsfree, and managed to
put on a japanese robe, wash my face, head down the elevator with my laptop
bag, and grab a cup of complimentary coffee from the lobby. I sat on the sofa
with a nice view of the street and the still-open restaurants and started the
procedure to ssh to my home server and tunnel to their ip.
Then, I had a sudden realization while I was waiting for the connection, or
maybe the coffee kicked in really quickly, as I stared at the deserted road in
front of me.
Me: Why did you call me while I’m on vacation?
Client: Yeah, sure, you on vacation?
Me: You do realize I’m actually on vacation, as I warned you (looking
through the mail I sent him) multiple times on June 28th, August 1st and
Client: You didn’t!
Me: You replied to all three emails, wishing me a happy vacation
and in your last reply, you asked if I could bring you an ancient katana.
Client: So, can you be here before closing time?
Me: Again, let me clarify: you do realize I’m in Tokyo, right?
Client: Ok, I guess I could stay a little late…
Me: Apologies, again: I’m in Tokyo, Japan, a mere 14 hours flight
from you, and you dialed an international number which you’ve been connected to
for (checking my mobile screen) 45 minutes 30 seconds now.
Client: So, what happened to my server?
I hung up, remotely rebooted the server and run the integrity checks, and emailed
the usual bill to the owner-accountant(his father) with an added 50 euro as
“tax for mental deficit of the customer” and another 50 for “very long range
When I told him what happened, he paid without complaining.
4 years later, I’m still trying to figure out what city in Italy sounds like
“Tokyo” to make him believe I could reach him in less than an hour.