Naples Potpourri by Bill Barnett

Bill Barnett

I will share with you a true story that I would have never imagined would happen to me. It’s not necessarily about the fact that it happened to me, but the impact that it had. It started while we were vacationing in New York from the end of July through mid-October. I am constantly checking my e-mail and using my computer as many of us do for just about everything from sports to recipes and finding new restaurants. Well, much to my dismay one morning when I booted my computer up, I realized I had been hacked. Now that within itself isn’t unusual, but I’m pretty careful with my passwords and changing them regularly so I was definitely miffed. I found out I had been hacked by receiving responses from friends that I haven’t heard from in years to current ones.

It was easy to figure out what the hacker wanted from their responses and copying me. It was actually comical to a point because as it usually happens the hacker takes over your identity and sends messages or e-mails to whomever they can find in your contact list or on Facebook, or whatever information they can find.

The bottom line since it’s allegedly me sending the e-mail and I am asking for a favor from you. In this case and where the comical part comes in is this was not a very bright nor original hacker. Whereas my grammar for the most part is very good, this favor that I needed
had many flaws and some misspells in it. The subject matter varied as they had a few different varieties to try and all of them had the same ask. I was either traveling, or ill, or in poor health generally and I needed you to go online or to a store and buy some gift cards for me because I couldn’t do it myself and I would pay you back. The responses I received from my friends were all skeptical that I wrote that e-mail and some of them went so far and responded with a question to me (the hacker).

One of the best was the following from a Canadian friend of mine who said, and I quote “Hey Bill, I forgot who is your favorite NFL football team”? When there was no response, he of course knew it was phony and never responded. The answer would have been the Buffalo Bills,
but I don’t think that would have swayed him to do anything other than call me. Others did similar creative responses although I would say there wasn’t anyone who didn’t know it was bogus from the beginning. What was so emotionally heartwarming to me was the fact that so many wonderful people reached out to me to make sure I was okay and if in fact I truly did need something they were willing to do it for me.

They texted my wife Chris as well. It was something that we don’t see a lot of in today’s society and it was a real act of kindness that they all exhibited. It also opened up the opportunity to renew old friendships, and touch base with friends that went as far back as high school and that’s a long time ago! It’s definitely difficult to turn a negative into a positive but in this case that’s what happened! Although I don’t write much about City politics anymore (I could) there is a City Council election coming up in February 2022. Please take some time and learn about the new candidates that are running for office. In Naples I have so many people tell me emphatically that they wouldn’t become a politician no matter what because of the abuse and disdain that is shown for politicians today. I would only say to you that’s all the more reason to give them a chance if they are putting themselves out there, we owe them the respect to at least see what they have to offer.

My repeated advice at holiday time is if you are going to have visitors or friends either staying with you or at one of our great lodging places make sure you tell them to make dinner reservations if they plan on dining out. Nothing can ruin a special evening then walking in to one of Naples awesome restaurants without a reservation and being turned away. Have a Happy Holiday Season which includes the New Year, and I will emphasize may 2022 be an especially healthy one for all of us!

Bill Barnett
Retired Mayor
I do respond to e-mails at:

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