This week, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris officially accepted their respective nominations for the 2020 Presidential Election. During the Democratic National Convention, several spoke to Joe’s kindness. Talking to people, including those he did not know. Even giving some his personal phone number, just so he can keep in touch.
I’ve had the opportunity to see former-Vice President Biden in person on three separate occasions. Once in Washington in 2010 just by happenstance as my tour group was in the right place at the right time to see his motorcade proceed from the U.S. Capitol building.
Biden got out of his car to walk and greet folks (ahem, not us – but no big deal). The second time was 2017 with Dr. Jill Biden at the Guilford College Bryan Series event in Greensboro. Then once more at an event at Durham Performing Arts Center in 2018.
I want to focus on the Bryan Series event. It was an unforgettable evening in which a packed Greensboro Coliseum heard the Bidens discuss everything from their upbringing, to many years of service to our country. But there was one thing – a moment – that I will always remember from that night.
When I walked into the coliseum prior to the event, I recall being greeted by staff members. All of whom were encouraging attendees who passed by to fill out questions for a Q&A segment during the event. For some reason, the staff members I came into contact with especially wanted me to fill out a question. I initially declined, but they persisted, so I did.
My creatively inept self could not think of anything other than the cliché questions. So I wrote one of them down. It went something like…
“What advice would you give to a young person looking to get into politics?
I’ve always been enamored with politics from a young age. I guess it’s in my blood. My great uncle on my mother’s side was heavily involved in politics from the 1970s to the 1990s, having served as mayor of Stoneville, N.C. – a town located 40 minutes north of Greensboro – for 22 years. He also ran for Congress and has a street named for him in Stoneville.
After a conversation with the Bidens, the event transitioned to the Q&A portion. Just a few audience questions were selected prior to the start of the program and read aloud. While I was hesitant to ask a question at first, I was now all in to see if mine had been chosen.
My question was the final one asked of the Bidens. Particularly Joe, given its nature. He gave a very detailed answer – much of which I do not remember. That’s because one thing he said really stood out to me. He said, “Chris, I wish I could meet you to give you this advice in person.” Huh?!? Honestly, I was so shocked, the rest of his answer was a blur. If only we could have met that night, I would have an even bigger story to tell.
The other day, Guilford College posted on Facebook, including a few photos from the event. It reminded us all of this very cool evening. It was awesome to share this story, once more, and to have a fellow attendee remember this moment as well. A moment I’ll never forget.
Mr. Biden, if you somehow read this. Thank you. What you said may have been inconsequential to you, but it truly meant the world to this 20-something, political nerd who is still heavily interested and involved.