December 27, 2006

My Encounter With President Ford

The news just arrived that President Ford has died.

I once had an an interesting encounter with him after he had left office.

It was sometime during the 80's - It was summertime - It was hot.  I was travelling from San Francisco to Washington DC. and for some reason I had to fly to JFK (New York) and then take the train for the last leg.

It was a hot sticky day, a crowded flight.  It was late.  I arrived in a nasty New York Grumpy state of mind.

I got to JFK not at all enthused about having to get to Pennsylvania station during rush hour - and for some unknown reason that could only be characterized as temporary insanity, I decided to go via the subway, a move that required me to first catch a bus.

I picked up my bags, and headed out the door.  Nothing was going to get in my way and survive.

The electric doors were too slow for me, so I bodily slammed 'em open and marched out into the street, slapped the passing bus across the windshield with my bag (the driver was so stunned he stopped in mid block and opened the door for me!)

I couldn't understand why everyone was staring at me as if I were one half of a tennis match.  So I followed the eyes to see who my partner was in this hypothetical game - Oops, it was Gerald Ford looking at me as if he had just encountered a Martian.  And the Secret Service folks were oscillating between sending me the evil eye and embarrassed looks for letting a wacko, such as I clearly was, get so close to the former President.

Apparently I was stomping out as Ford was walking in.  I had thrown the door right into his way, nearly smacking him in the face.

Fortunately for me the Secret Service agents recognized that I was acting under post traumatic flight stress syndrome.

I hope he didn't spent the last 20 some-odd years in fear of airport doors.

Posted by karl at December 27, 2006 3:17 AM