Filed under: Comment
I am very sad today.
Actually, I’ve been sad ever since last week when I met Heather LeFevre in Amsterdam and found out that in all likelihood, a guy I thought very highly of, was ill … very, very ill.
I’m not talking about any physical ailment – though apparently that is being claimed at the moment – I’m talking about a potential string of lies that has ended up hurting, humiliating and damaging a whole host of innocent people all around the globe.
The guy I am talking about is Sam Ismail.
As I’ve said, I liked Sam. Hell, in some way I still do.
He’s smart, bright, charismatic, mishcievious and full of energy … and because of that, I introduced him to a dear friend of mine – who is a headhunter – when he said he was moving to Australia.
Because of his cleverness and charm – and maybe a pinch of my pseudo-endorsement – he ended up getting a job with another friend of mine at their agency.
I was happy … everyone was going to win … and I was looking forward to seeing how things developed.
Then a couple of weeks later I got a phonecall.
A terrible, horrible, heart-wrenching phonecall.
It was from my headhunter friend telling me Sam’s parents had been involved in a terrible car crash and he’d had to fly to the US immediately. I was devastated for him and emailed him offering my condolences to which he responded and said thanks and that it was a tragic situation.
A few days later she rang again and asked if I knew which hospital his parents were in because his girlfriend was looking for him and was finding it impossible to make contact.
Obviously I thought it was strange his girlfriend didn’t know where he was, but I know from personal experience that when these things happen, weird things can happen so I just assumed it was another tragic outcome stemming from a tragic outcome.
A few weeks later my friends at the agency he worked at, got in touch.
“Do you know where Sam is?”
Again I didn’t … and when I asked why, they told me he had not been in touch with them except for when he told them [via my headhunting friend] he had to leave the country to be at his parents side. I must admit I found that strange and it bothered me – he’d even deleted his Facebook and Twitter accounts – however not only was it none of my business, I again knew from personal experience that you can end up doing some very weird things during times of tragedy and crisis.
Anyway, apart from when I called my headhunter friend to say hello, he didn’t really enter my mind until a few months later, when I noticed Sam back on the social media scene.
I immediately got in contact asked how he was.
Despite all that had happened, I was genuinely concerned – afterall, I had no real reason not to be – so I was happy when he told me that after such a terrible time, he was getting stronger. Of course I had to ask about Australia and he openly admitted that there were issues there that resulted in him having to stay away, which he felt very bad about because he knew he had hurt/upset others.
As far as I was concerned, that was that …
Anyway, over the subsequent months I heard the odd whisper about Sam from various people, but I always said they should shut up because there was no evidence of any wrong doing and this industry was already full of backbiting and bitchiness.
Then I met Heather.
I was in Amsterdam for a meeting and was really excited that I was also going to be able to meet this person that I’d conversed with, but had never met.
I knew she had just got this big gig with Strawberry Frog and that she’d been looking for planners [as she’d asked me for recommendations] so within minutes of meeting, I asked her how it was all going.
She looked disappointed because she said she’d hired this great guy called Sam Ismail but sadly, the day before he was to start, he’d SMS’d her to say his sister had been involved in a car accident and he had to fly and be by her side.
My face went white.
For the first time I had undeniable evidence that there was something that didn’t quite add up with Sam.
Here I was in Amsterdam – meeting someone I’d never met before – listening to a situation involving a person standing 2 feet in front of me, that was almost a word-for-word account of what my friends said had happened to them in Australia.
Even then I didn’t want to admit my concerns, so I explained calmly that the situation she was describing sounded very similar to a set of circumstances some friends of mine had gone through with Sam a few months earlier.
And from that casual conversation over coffee in Amsterdam, things escalated …
There is a chance Sam and his family are one of the unluckiest families on Earth, but the likelihood is – especially when you read the other stuff Heather’s subsequently found out – that they’re not, and whilst that is good news it also means there’s a real possibility Sam has lied and manipulated people for his own personal gain.
I should point out here that I don’t hate Sam, I’m worried about him.
I – as I am sure is the same for Heather – don’t want this to be a witch hunt or to put him in a corner he feels he can’t get out of … I want to help him.
I take no joy writing this whatsoever, none at all … in fact you may have noticed that at no point in this post have I come out and categorically said he has lied or cheated – I’ve simply explained the situation that I personally encountered – because I am hoping there’s a chance, however small, that this whole sorry situation is just a series of terrible, horrible, ugly coincidences.
I don’t know where Sam is but I know he’s read Heather’s post … so wherever you are, I hope you’re getting the help you need because you’re a guy with so much to offer, but you’re probably fucking yourself up and that’s as tragic to witness as the mess you’re being alleged to have left behind.
It can change.
You can change.
So if there’s a way to prove the things being said are wrong – do it – because I believed in you and nothing would make me happier to know I was right to do that.