Fame based on misfortune can be a rough. Sometimes the misfortune can end well, but usually it ends very badly: Just look at Chicago Cubs kicking boy Steve Bartman, who just wanted to catch a foul ball and instead became the lightning rod for every bad thing that had ever happened to the Cubs. So when the name of the Apple engineer that lost the infamous prototype was revealed, we all inhaled and waited to see what would happen next.
When Gizmodo outed 27 year old Gray Powell as the engineer responsible for losing the infamous prototype iPhone at a German bar in Redmond, CA, it seemed like a professional death sentence.Each of the Apple employees that were given protoypes were personally approved by Steve Jobs, which means Powell was a rising star within the company. And yet, Apple is not known for their mercy towards employees that leak information. They recently fired an engineer for showing off the iPad for a few minutes before the official launch. Turns out Powell’s job might not only be secure, he may have just won a free trip to Germany and a few beers courtesy of Lufthansa.
CBS is reporting that after hearing about Powell, Nicola Lange, Lufthansa’s marketing director, posted an open invitation to the engineer on Twitter. Lufthansa recently opened a Bavarian Beer Garden Business Lounge in Munich, and Powell has a ticket waiting to take him there.
“I recently read in the news that you lost a very special phone at a German beer bar in California…At Lufthansa we also noted with great interest your passion for German beer and culture.” Lange said on Twitter. “We thought you could use a break soon – and therefore would like to offer you complimentary business class transportation to Munich, where you can literally pick up where you last left off.”
Although the connection between Powell losing the iPhone in a German-themed bar and the German-based airline is tenuous at best, the offer is valid and has been confirmed. If nothing else, it is good PR for the company.
Ironically, the press that initially threatened Powell’s position at Apple may also help him keep his job. To fire him now could create a backlash against Apple, which is currently enjoying good PR thanks to a string of successful product launches, big sales numbers and announcements of upcoming gear.