AN OBAMA STORY
Obama Helped Stranger 20 Years Ago
Oct 05, 2008
The Norwegian newspaper VG has reported a truly amazing story about a
newly-wed trying to get to Norway to be with her husband, and the
stranger who helped pay an unexpected luggage surcharge.
The blog ‘Leisha’s Random Thoughts’ has translated the story:
It was 1988, and Mary Andersen was in line at the Miami airport checking
in for a long flight to Norway to be with her husband. When it was
finally Mary’s turn, she got the message that would crush her bubbling
feeling of happiness.”You’ ll have to pay a 103 dollar surcharge if you
want to bring both those suitcases to Norway,” the man behind the
Mary had no money. Her new husband had travelled ahead of her to Norway,
and she had no one else to call.
“I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I
could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of
my most prized possessions, ” says Mary.
As tears streamed down her face, she heard a ‘gentle and friendly voice’
behind her saying, “That’s okay, I’ll pay for her.”
Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before.He
had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive. “The first
thing I thought was, Who is this man?”
Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority
that radiated from the man. He was nicely dressed, with brown leather
shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants, says Mary.
She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and
assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his
name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked
him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security
checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.
Who was the man?
Twenty years later, she is thrilled that the friendly stranger at the
airport may be the next President and has voted for him already and
donated 100 dollars to his campaign:
“He was my knight in shining armor,” says Mary, smiling.
She paid the 103 dollars back to Obama the day after she arrived in
Norway. At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid
community worker in Chicago, and had started his law studies at
prestigious Harvard university.
Mary even convinced her parents to vote for him: In the spring of 2006
Mary’s parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president,
but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter in which
they told him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they
thanked Obama for helping their daughter 18 years earlier.
And Obama replied. In a letter to Mary’s parents dated May 4th 2006 and
stamped “United States Senate, Washington DC’ Barack Obama writes:’I
want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for
reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I’m happy I could help
back then, and I’m delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in
Norway. Please send her my best wishes. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United
The parents sent the letter on to Mary.
Mary says that when her friends and associates talk about the election,
especially when race relations is the heated subject, she relates the
story of the kind man who helped out a stranger-in- need over twenty
years ago, years before he had even thought about running for high office.
UPDATE: Also, remember this was 1988, when 100 dollars was quite a bit
of money, compared to today’s value.
Truly a wonderful story, and something that needs to be passed along in
the maelstorm of fear-and-smear politics we are being subjected to right
The Ladner Report