Some years ago, I had a pretty unimportant job as an investigator for a major hotel chain. I happened to be in San Francisco, working for one of the properties of that chain, when there was a major political event taking place in the city. The election for mayor was taking place, and this was the evening of the results. The man who was going to be the future Mayor of San Francisco was holding his election rally in the hotel where I was at, so the big convention was taking place in the Grand Ballroom of this hotel.
This meant that everyone that was involved in security needed to be part of the crowd control. As a security investigator, I sort of fell under that umbrella, and while I could have opted out, I figured I’d help out and stood at the top of the escalators where the mayor was holding the big get-together. Well, like most bad television sit-coms, this is where everything sort of fell into place.
It turned out that one of the main advisors to the future mayor was someone I knew. He and I had met at the college where I had gone back to school after getting out of the military. He just so happened to be my physics instructor at the time, and we had gotten along greatly, although that had been a few years ago. Well, he was walking up the escalator with the future mayor, saw me, and immediately steered that future mayor over to me and said: “I wanted you to meet one of the men instrumental in helping you get elected.” And I was then introduced to the future Mayor of San Francisco.
You see, this professor of mine mistook his recognizing of me as a recognition of someone who was actually involved in the campaign. He saw my recognition of him, and his eyes lit up, and he sort of filled in all sorts of false past events because he probably couldn’t remember why he recognized me. I was fine with it, and personally I thought it was kind of funny.
Things sort of escalated from there. The number one man in this mayor’s campaign heard the exchange and immediately looked at this guy in a suit and figured he was important enough to continue a conversation. He pulled me aside and asked me to walk with him into the ballroom, because he wanted to hear my ideas for when the mayor took over the city.
So, not believing this was really happening, I went with him and spent the next half hour outlining what I would do if I was to take over as mayor. The man hung on every singlel word I said.
Then he introduced me to the future mayor to have a small conversation with while we waited for the returns to come in. So I stood there, in front of a lot of very important people, and I outlined what I thought this mayor should do if he became the leader of the city. He listened to every word, asked me a bunch of poignant questions, and then listened to my responses to every one of these questions. I must have spent an hour talking to him before the returns came in, and this man was announced as the next Mayor of San Francisco.
He then turned to me, handed me his business card with his private phone number on it, and then told me to keep in touch, because he valued his friends well.
So, I shook his hand, took a business card from his campaign manager, and then went back to work, helping the security staff take their lunch breaks by filling in for them.
But for that one moment, I was listened to by some of the more important people in the city. They’d never listen to me again, but for a few hours, I was one of them and the one to whom they listened to every word spoken.
I can only hope that I made a difference to the city that one day.