As the world remembers the life of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, I was made aware of a story that took place in 2010 aboard a United Airlines flight to Beijing.
Reader Ken sent me the following e-mail, which I want to share with you.
I thought you might appreciate this story about George H.W. Bush. In the spring of 2010 I was flying from Chicago to Beijing in United Airlines first class. I thought I was first to board the flight, but noticed several people standing in the first class cabin. As I made my way to my seat in 1A, lo and behold there was George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara already seated in the cabin. Mrs. Bush smiled at me and the former president nodded his head.
While I figured they probably just wanted to be left alone, how often do you get to spend 13 hours with a former President of the United States? I eventually worked up the courage to approach them and was struck at how kind President Bush was. Perhaps gentle is the better word. We briefly made small talk about China and why he was flying commercial. Giving me his undivided attention, he made me feel like I was the only person in the world. He also asked about my reasons for going to China and actually seemed happy to engage in conversation. While most of his entourage retreated to business or economy class, one agent kept a close eye on me as we spoke. But I got the sense this sort of thing happens often. It was an incredible memory to speak to him.
What a great memory this is. I’ve flown with many politicians over the years, but never had the chance to fly with an ex-president. As the world remembers the life of George H. W. Bush, this anecdote is a reminder of his approachability and humility.
image: Esther / Flickr CC 2.0