I had finished my dinner with Jon and had pulled up the rental car to the valet at the hotel. I saw the valet guy take the keys from the person who had the previous car and walk towards the car. Then, on second thoughts, he ran back to the person who was going up the steps to the checking in counter. I could see he asked him something, the guest nodded, both smiled, shook hands and parted.
“Is he somebody famous?” I asked the valet looking at the clean shaven, well built African American gentleman walking away. I was expecting him to be some kind of professional athlete.
“Yes. He is Mr. Booker”
Now, I have to admit I did not know who exactly Mr. Booker was but the name was vaguely familiar. The valet guy for some reason told me he is the mayor of DC. Which my irate daughters later pointed out is actually a lady. And this was the famous senator from New Jersey – Mr. Cory Booker.
After he was done checking in, I was wondering whether I should go and talk to him. He probably gets too many strangers walking up to him and bothering him.
I finally took the plunge. “Mr. Booker?”, I asked as he was grabbing a couple of bottles of water.
He turned back and said “Yes.”
“How many times do you get asked that question everyday?” I asked. Since I could not come up anything better or more interesting to ask.
“More than you think”, he said and laughed and put me at ease.
It should have ended there with me wishing him good night.
Instead, I proceeded – “I am from Atlanta but I have a daughter in DC. She just started in GWU.”
“Really, what is she studying?”
“Well, she wants to do law”
“We need smart kids in law. Good for her.”
“I know this is imposing on your privacy but would you be open to taking a picture with me? My daughter will be thrilled” I asked a little worried that incessant requests like this probably irritates folks like him.
As I was trying to look around to ask somebody to take our picture, he did something startling. He took the phone away from me.
“What is your daughter’s name?”
He put the camera on video mode and started taking a video of him and me. And he said “Hey Niki! Here I was minding my own business here in Milwaukee and this guy who can be my stunt double walks up to me and says he knows you. Hope he knows you! Wish you all the best. You have a cool dad!”
And I am yelling “Oh! My God!!!”
Then he took a selfie with me, made sure I got his Chief of Staff Veronica’s contacts (who also a took a selfie with me) and asked me to pass it on to Niki and that if she wanted an internship ever, she should contact Veronica.
We bade each other adieu. I checked in and went to my room. And then sent the video to the girls. One remonstrated with me for not mentioning her name and the other was in sixth heaven.
But for once, both agreed that dad may not be always somebody to be embarrassed of.
That was my 15 minutes of fame!!