Back in 2007, I was helping a friend with their computer in their home, which I had done on multiple occasions in return for their friendship and the occasional bowl of noodles. They trusted me and I valued that trust, so much so that I made an effort to not see anything on the computer that was private including messages, photos and passwords.
At the time while testing their printer, I came across a great sporting photo of their spouse. We have a semi-professional printer at home and I thought I'd surprise them by adjusting and printing the photo, so I emailed the photo to myself and deleted the email from the computer to keep it a surprise. Unfortunately, the photo completely slipped my mind and I never got around to printing it out for them.
Today, almost 18 months later having had practically no contact with this friend, I learn that they've been upset with me since that day on the computer. They had heard the 'whoosh' sound of the email going out and questioned me about it immediately. Apparently, I balked for 2 minutes before telling them about the photo and that made them suspect that I had stolen it from the computer ('stolen' would be technically true although in my mind, I was 'borrowing' the photo, to be deleted once it had been printed). When they couldn't find the email, it only confirmed their suspicions. That I never got around to actually printing the photo, well…
On occasion, good intentions can have disastrous consequences. My friend and their spouse believe I stole the photo for personal use, no longer trust me, and are no longer my friends. Ouch! My apologies have been heard but not believed.
Trust is a delicate thing. It takes a long time to build but can be lost in the blink of an eye, or in this case the time it takes to email a photo.
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