I scanned my options for the fourth time. Should I wear a suit? A dress? Or perhaps boots because it was finally cold in south Florida? I am a typically a decisive woman, and my deliberation about something so insignificant was ridiculous.
Apparently I’d lost track of the time. My phone rang, which I couldn’t immediatly locate. I eventually found it; the muffled sound buzzed from my sock drawer! Oh goodness. The Uber driver was waiting for me in the driveway. Seconds later, Alec and Zoe simultaneously shouted, “Mom!! Hurry up! The Uber is outside!”
As if my heart wasn’t already racing with anticipation, it doubled its thumping! I bolted from the bedroom holding my heels (I figured it may be hot inside the building) in one hand and an evening bag in the other. I’m shocked that I didn’t tumble down the stairs as I kissed the kids and headed for the front door.
We arrived at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts right on time. I was relieved; my perpetually punctual husband was already pacing inside. I smiled as he approached me; after 21 years together, we are still madly in love.
We stood in a deceptively short line; it wove around similar to the types of lines at Disney World. But much to my surprise, it moved quickly and we were next. In front of us stood a poised, slender, and confident man. Vice President Joe Biden presented just as I had imagined! And now I was about to shake his hand.
“It is a pleasure to meet you! I’m glad to finally see you in person rather than just on a hilarious meme with former President Obama!” I have no idea why those words escaped mouth. I was grateful that Mr. Biden laughed jovially; the man DID have quick-witted humor as he’s been depicted.
He shook my hand warmly and firmly. Mr. Biden began to pivot toward the camera, flanked by me on his left and my husand on his right. However, I had more to say, apparently.
“On my way out of the house, I asked my nearly 17-year-old son what I should say to you. He said, `Tell him to run for President!’ I promised Alec I would tell you. And by the way, I wholeheartedly agree! He will be voting for the first time in 2020!” Biden smiled broadly, in contrast to my wide-eyed husband with an expression of “you’re holding up the line.”
Mr. Biden summoned his millenial, high-energy, dark haired assistant. He said, “What is your son’s name? Give his name and number to him (motioning to the attentive young man). I am going to give him a call!”
The assistant requested and wrote down our names, Alec’s name and phone number. We strolled toward the main theater where Mr. Biden would be speaking. I immediately called my son and said, “You are NOT going to believe what just happened!!! Please keep your phone ringer on. And for goodness sakes, please keep the phone nearby!
And then a hilarious group texting dialogue ensued. I had to swallow giggles just as Mr. Biden was being introduced. Here is verbatim what Alec and Zoe wrote:
Zoe: “Did you take a pic with him?”
Me: “Yes. But we weren’t allowed to take any with our phones. We will get a professional one later in the week.”
Zoe: “Oh cool.”
Me: “I have a hunch he’ll call you during his presentation!
Alec: “No way!”
Zoe: “R U serious? He can’t do that. That’s insane.”
Me: “It’d be brilliant!”
Zoe: “Maybe he will Face Time. We should go get dressed.”
Alec: “I’m dressed.”
Me: “OMG I love you two!!!!”
Zoe: “We should go get dressed nicely.”
Alec: “Why? we are at home.”
Me: “I’m howling!!!!!”
Zoe: “If he face times.”
Alec: “He’ll only see our faces.”
Zoe: “We should look better. So I’ll go put makeup on.”
Zoe: “Do you really think he will call when he is presenting? Mom??”
The lights dimmed, and Mr. Biden walked onto the stage. Kelley Shanley, CEO of the Broward Center, began the conversation. Kelley, who is not only brilliant and witty but also our friend, guided the discussion flawlessly. And I loved learning more about Mr. Biden. His communication style was humble and classy. It was refreshing to hear from a public figure and politician who expressed the importance of consensus. He also spoke about his family as well as embracing colleagues from all political parties.
We spoke to the kids on our way home. They were both disappointed that Mr. Biden did not call. I said I truly think he will. He seemed to be a man of his word.
The next day, my cell phone rang. Huh. How odd! Alec rarely, if ever, calls me during school hours. I immediately answered the call.
“Mom. M-O-M!! I’m so upset with myself!!” he said in what sounded like a stage whisper.
“Why honey–are you ok? What’s up?” I asked.
“My phone buzzed in the middle of class. It was HIM. He. Called. Me!! Joe Biden left me a voicemail. And I’m so mad because he didn’t leave his number so I can’t even call him back, Mom!” Alec said with frustration.
I could not help myself. “Seriously, Alec? You think the former Vice President of the United States would leave his personal info, such as his phone number, on a teenager’s cell phone? And by the way, this is a gift sweetie!!!! You now have a personal message from JOE BIDEN. How incredible is that?!?! You can keep it forever!”
We continued talking for a few more minutes. I was thrilled for my son! Then I heard the message:
“Hey Alec. I met your parents last night at an event I spoke at. They spoke really highly of you. i just wanted to call and say hello. And uh…(gentle laughter) It’s a great message! Talk to ya.”
This happened a week ago today. I told the kids that you never know what happens when you have the courage to connect with a stranger! My family teases me that I “talk to everyone.” I, and even more importantly, my children will never forget this moment. Mr. Biden, if you heed Alec’s advice, you can count on his vote!