Meeting the Vice President of the United States is an amazing experience in itself, but when a Secret Service Agent is narrating the arrival, it becomes extraordinary!
Before becoming a business owner, my previous career was in the hospitality industry. I worked for an upscale hotel in Beverly Hills handling group business. It was a typical day back in the mid ‘90s and one of the Sales Managers came over to my office to let me know that she had booked a piece of business with the White House and that she was turning the file over to me to handle all of the details for the group. It was my first experience with any type of political group staying at the hotel. I thought I would be managing the rooming list and that was about it. Boy, was I in for a big surprise! The Sales Manager told me that I would be on the receiving line when Vice President Gore arrived at the hotel. I remember thinking “Wow, that sounds exciting”, but not really grasping the enormity of it all at first.
After working on the group details for a couple of weeks with the Secret Service, the arrival day for the Vice President had finally arrived. We all gathered on the top floor of the hotel where he would be staying. The Secret Service agents knew it was my first time and they were enjoying my enthusiasm. They had “been there, done that” a million times and it was fun for them to see it through a newcomer’s eyes. We were waiting on the elevator landing on the top floor of the hotel. One of the secret service agents decided he was going to make it an experience I’d never forget. He spoke into his wrist (as all important security people do) and listened in his earpiece for the response. He looked at me and said, “The vehicle is 10 minutes out”. I was excited beyond belief! He then repeated the same sequence and looked at me and said, “The vehicle is pulling into the underground parking of the hotel”. The agent had a smile on his face knowing that he was building the anticipation for me. The next thing he said almost made me lose my breath. He said, “When that elevator door opens, the Vice President of the United States is going to step out”. I was so nervous and excited. When the doors finally opened, a secret service agent stepped out first for security reasons…. and then… Vice President Al Gore stepped out of the elevator! I was the first person to shake his hand and welcome him to the hotel. I don’t remember exactly what I said, or what he was saying to me, I just remember that he was so handsome in person and he looked like Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent in the first Superman movie to me! I don’t care how he comes across on television, all of the skeptics who say he doesn’t have a personality; I know from first hand experience that he is charismatic and quite charming in person!
I was also fortunate enough to meet President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton in future visits. I’ll write about those in upcoming blog posts. Stay tuned...
What was an experience you had that turned out to be extraordinary?