A contact for a freelance story promised to get back to me by a certain day. Halfway through that day I sent him an e-mail as a reminder. The e-mail bounced back with a "no known addressee"-type message.
I'd sent the message to an address that incorporated my contact's division in the suffix--i.e., division.com. Thinking that maybe his filters were acting up, I re-sent it, using a suffix that included the parent company's name.
It, too, bounced back.
In any other time, I would've taken it as a technical glitch. But now I was certain my contact had been pink-slipped. Mindful of a friend's experience in being an intruder on D-Day, I figured I'd give the situation an hour and then place a call to my source's office.
Minutes later, an e-mail arrived from my source, providing the information I'd been seeking. He'd been reassigned to a new division, with his e-mail suffix adjusted accordingly.
Any other time, that would've merited no more than 15 seconds of reflection. But it was as if he'd survived and airplane crash and was letting me know. He was alive! Corporately speaking, of course.
I held off from calling the guy, afraid I'd gush.