I worked on that witty comment for hours. I asked friends and strangers. I contemplated websites. I dreamed endlessly. And for naught.
When the time came, I barely managed to squeak out a proper greeting. And I know I sounded like a raving idiot when I told him I was a big fan and he was the first president I ever voted for. But it was all worth it, because he gave me a huge grin and a quick hug.
Hear that? I got a hug from President George W. Bush.
He gave me his name, I asked for his photo ID, he repeated his name like I was an idiot, I repeated that I needed to see a photo ID for security purposes. He hands me his ID. I look at it. I finally look up at him. Yep, Jerry Springer, well, actually Gerald Springer which is why I had such a hard time finding him on my list. Good start to my evening, right?
Then I offered to help usher attendees into the event. Which meant that I got to stay and listen to President Clinton and President Bush. It was awesome. Not only did I get to see (LIVE!) two past Presidents of the United States of America, but I got to hear reflections on their presidency and ideas on issues facing our nation. I was content.
But the evening was not yet done. I worked the photo room where certain guests received a photo with President Bush and President Clinton. At the very end, a couple of staff members, including myself, jumped in line for our chance for a photo. I was going to be cool, collect, like I meet famous people every day. But I started babbling because I got to meet a man I truly admire. Who kept us safe after 9/11, who provided leadership in the wars that followed, who lowered the tax rates, etc… And then (and I know I’m repeating but I’m still really excited!) he gave me a grin like he knew it was overwhelming and he understood. He gave me a quick hug and we both moved on to great the next person in line!
I moved on to shake President Clinton’s (another great president) hand and I managed to get my emotions under control. I shook his hand, murmured a polite platitude, gave him a friendly smile and stood next to him for the group photo. It was awesome.