I am pretty sure I posted about this story back during those frantic days of the 2008 campaign. But somebody just sent it to me recently, and I think it deserves to be shared again. Especially for those who have started to lose faith in our President.
(You will have to forgive some of the sappiness of the original article. Apparently that is due to the writing style, and possibly due somewhat to the translation from Norwegian to English.)
Courtesy of Leisha's Randon Thoughts and Ponderings:
Mary was a newlywed and ready to move to Norway, but was stopped at the airport because she didn’t have enough money for the trip. Then a stranger turned up and paid for her.
Mary Menth Andersen was 31 years old at the time and had just married Norwegian Dag Andersen. She was looking forward to starting a new life in Åsgårdstrand in Vestfold with him. But first she had to get all of her belongings across to Norway. The date was November 2nd, 1988.
At the airport in Miami things were hectic as usual, with long lines at the check-in counters. When it was finally Mary’s turn and she had placed her luggage on the baggage line, 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 counter said.
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.
Although she explained the situation to the man behind the counter, he showed no signs of mercy.
"I started to cry, tears were pouring down my face and I had no idea what to do. Then I heard a gentle and friendly voice behind me saying, That’s OK, 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, fashionably 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.
The piece of paper said ‘Barack Obama’ and his address in Kansas, which is the state where his mother comes from.
Mary carried the slip of paper around in her wallet for years, before it was thrown out.
"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.
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.
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 States senator’.
The parents sent the letter on to Mary.
Here is a picture of Mary Menth Anderson, her husband, and the letter from Senator Barack Obama.
If you have ever wondered why I post those pictures of President Obama with the babies, it is because to me they say something more profound than ANYTHING written about the President on any website, or said about the President on any television program.
They reveal something honest and fundamental about our President. Something that is hidden beneath the surface, yet felt by those who get close, by those who are sensitive to more than what they can hear or see.
This story reveals the same thing.
Politicians are masters at creating the facade of who they WANT you to see when you look at them. But what are they like when they don't know they are being studied? In other words who are they really?
In the case of President Obama we can see who he is by how he lovingly interacts with his family, how babies and children relate to him, and how he once helped Mary Menth Anderson, when nobody was watching, and it did not mean extra votes in an election.
When it was just the right thing to do.