A Rare Presidential Moment!

Since it is around election time I thought of a story involving one of our past Presidents that involved Delta Millwork and our products.

georgebushBack in 1992 when George Bush senior was finalizing his term as President of the United States, I got a phone call from one of our customers telling me that President Bush was building a house here in Houston and asked if I could help. President and Mrs. Bush wanted to build a special butcher block counter top for the kitchen island in their house, and the builder asked if we could do it. I said sure, I will come and take a look at the job site and measure for the countertop. I was told that we could meet at the house at 10:00am with the contractor and that the Bushes might possibly be there as well. Wow, I thought, I’m going to get to meet a United States President! Exciting! I was then briefed on protocol by the builder as to how to act when the President showed up. I was told that if I got to talk to President Bush at any time while at the house, that I was only to address him as “Mr. President.” I was told this 3 times just to be safe. I was also warned that there would be a few secret servicemen in very close proximity to the president. Wow! Ok, I got it. I’ll address him as Mr. President if he talks to me.

So I arrive at the house at the agreed time to measure for the butcher block. I notice that there is also another supplier in the kitchen while I am doing my job - a guy from New York I’m guessing - based on his accent and the way he was cussing at the plumbing. He was working on the appliances in the kitchen. Apparently he was given the same lecture about protocol as me. We are both reminded one more time about how to address the Bushes should they arrive while we are working in their house. Mr. President, and Mrs. Bush. Ok got it. Must be serious I thought.

So while I am measuring for the butcher block, in walks this gaggle of people. I look up and there he is – President Bush and his wife Barbara. Wow, what a day I thought. Nobody is going to believe me. The appliance guy also looked up and stopped what he was doing - preparing to answer any questions the Bushes may have about the new dishwasher. George Bush walks over to me and asks me what I am doing, and I’m all but speechless. “Hello Mr. President, I’m measuring for your new counter top for the island, sure is a beautiful house you guys are building, when will you be moving in,” I joked? He was as nice as could be and answered me as if he was talking to a friend. Whew, I passed the test without passing out. The president then casually walked over to the appliance guy from New York and said “What are you working on?” The appliance guy who was bent over and sporting a little plumber crack, stands up and spins around and answers with a raspy heavy New York accent, “Well George, I’m installing your new dishwasher, sure is a fancy house you have here.” You could have heard a pin drop for about 3 seconds. Ok I thought, what happens now, they told us to only call him Mr. President and this idiot just called him George? Does the secret service have a special jail that they put this guy in? Do helicopters swoop in and haul his ass off? Now what? The president casually continued talking to the appliance guy like nothing had happened but you could feel the tension in the air. The builder later told me that the appliance guy was done, finished and not coming back. I guess diplomacy really is important... for everyone.

 

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