When Professor of Leadership, Diversity and Social Capital Steven D´Souza told me on the phone that he wanted to go to the London Olympic village in Stratford to talk to strangers, my immediate thought was that I was that first stranger. I had never met him before. Then, for no reason, or maybe because I also play tennis, the film “Strangers on a train” popped into my mind. The main character in the film is an amateur tennis player named Guy Haines who meets a stranger, Bruno Anthony, who is already familiar with Guy’s marital problems thanks to gossip items in the newspapers. At some point, Bruno tells Guy about his idea for the perfect “Criss-cross” murder(s): he will kill Guy’s unfaithful wife and in exchange, Guy will kill Bruno’s father. Since both were strangers to one another, unconnected, there would be no identifiable motive for the crimes and thus no suspicion.
Well, Prof. Steven D´Souza and myself did finally met each other in London, and met other strangers (a Czech Olympic volunteer and a South African Olympic athlete.) I am happy to say we never plotted to kill anyone… but only talk about the importance of meeting strangers to strengthen social capital.