This great Quora thread has people spilling the details over their chance encounters with Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Here are our two favourites. They’ve been cleaned up a bit for grammar, spelling, etc.
An intern got into a dispute with Bezos over the rules of dodgeball.
Tushar Jain tells the story:
I interned at Amazon in the summer of 2004. At that time, Amazon used to have an internal summer dodgeball league. It was taken pretty seriously since the team that won the summer playoffs got bragging rights for the rest of the year and an icon on the internal directory.
In one of the games during the playoffs, my team faced off with Jeff’s team, which was him and a bunch of senior VPs.
At one point during the game, a bunch of balls were thrown simultaneously from both sides, and when the commotion died down, Jeff and I were both in front of our respective teams, closer to the center of the court. He thought that he had hit me and I was out, while I was quite sure that I’d caught his ball and that he was out.
He pointed at me and told me that I was out. I said no, and told him that he was out. He told me that I was wrong and that I was out. We then proceeded to yell at each other animatedly, each pointing at the other and telling them that they were out. In my moment of competitiveness, I completely forgot that I was an intern who really wanted a job at this company at the end of the summer. So, yelling at the CEO and calling him a liar was probably not the best tactic!
Anyway, we yelled at each other for a bit and then turned to the ref. The ref kicked Bezos out :) That incited the signature booming laugh from Jeff and he very sportingly walked off the court.
PS: I got a job at the end of the summer, and proceeded to work at Amazon for 8 years.
An employee took the opportunity to thank Bezos for creating Amazon while they were in the men’s room.
Joe Goldberg tells the story:
I gave my two weeks notice at Amazon in 2005. It was my final day at work, and I was eating in the cafeteria with my team. It was slightly emotional for me to be saying goodbye and also being excited to start a new chapter in my life.
After lunch, I stopped at the men’s room to go pee, and who’s at the urinal next to me? Jeff Bezos. Men (and many women) reading this will know the “code of silence” rule in public restrooms (especially when it comes to urinal neighbours), but I couldn’t help myself. I turned to him, mid-pee, and said, “Jeff, today is my last day at Amazon and I wanted to thank you for building such a great company.”
He gave a subdued version of his famous laugh, which still echoed thunderously through the bathroom, and said, “Thanks. Sorry to hear we’re losing you.”
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.