We are constantly being inundated with reports on how technology is making the world a cold, desolate place. That is why it is so nice when a story comes along about tech and social media that shows its true connective powers.
In the aftermath of the 9.0 quake that rocked the country, a Tokyo Apple store went above and beyond to help its people. Today Kevin Rose, founder of digg, posted on his blog an email he received from a friend in Japan. The unnamed friend is an employee at the Apple store, and relayed how the company helped out in the time immediately following the earthquake.
Since the quake knocked out much of the communication and transportation in the country, people found themselves stranded in the city. The Apple store became a hub for news gathering and place for people to touch base with their family members in other parts of the country. "People were swarming into Apple stores to watch the news on USTREAM and contact their families via Twitter, Facebook, and email. The young did it on their mobile devices, while the old clustered around the macs. There were even some Android users there," said the Japanese employee.
The Apple store employees even provided chargers and adapters so that people could charge their devices. Even after the store closed, it still provided an invaluable service to many: "Even after we finally had to close [at] 10pm, crowds of people huddled in front of our stores to use the wifi into the night, as it was still the only way to get access to the outside world."
Apple later told the employees, both retail and corporate, that they could sleep in the stores since transportation was still a no-go out of the city. They provided food and water and eventually let employees' families stay in the stores as well. The theater rooms and break rooms provided enough space for all of the dispossessed employees.
The anonymous employee added, "That is why I am a fanboy. Ack!"
To read the whole email, go here.