Does it count if you got to accidentally meet the @VP if there isn’t any photographic evidence?

To give you the background on this tale of today’s brush with greatness..

Last year, I had an extremely gracious invite from Jane Lucas, Special Assistant To The President in the Office of Legislative Affairs at The White House. Jane, originally from Brookings, a fellow SDSU grad, formerly of HHS and Legislative Director for Senator Thune had asked if I would like a tour of the White House while I was in DC, but unfortunately, I had already been there and left.

Jane had noted that we might try again next time I was in the area.

So this year, I had dropped a note before I was going to DC, and asked about meeting up. I happened to do it far enough in advance, and both the stars and her schedule aligned that she was able to arrange lunch in the Naval Mess in the West Wing of the White House with myself and my wife.

It required the typical background checks, which we did. And we were able to get everything arranged for today, the last day of my visit.

We arrived early, as I figured we’d be trying to navigate the entrance to the grounds under the watchful eye of heavily armed people in guardhouses. Once in, we had to go through a couple of gates, and into the lobby where we were to wait for Jane, since we ended up being about 15 minutes early.

The first sign we saw said we had to put our non-White House issued cell phones into lockers, or we would not be welcome on the premises. No problem, right? We did so and stepped into the entrance.

Kind of being in the way, as I have a tendency to do, The secret service staff member at the desk asked that we step out of the entrance, and we could sit on the provided couch off to the side in the entryway. Which we gladly did, as I’m happy to not be in the way.

We had sat there for about five minutes, when all of a sudden plainclothes Secret Service members quickly swooped in. And everybody but us paused, and stood at attention.

Right then, Vice President Mike Pence walked in, followed by staff, and flanked by more large Secret Service members. With everyone far better dressed than I was.

Aaaaand then the VP pauses in front of my wife and I.

Vice President Pence asked us if they were taking care of us, and took a few moments to greet us, asking about our stay in DC, and asking about us.

When your wife introduces herself to the Vice President as “Dr. Michelle Powers” while at the White House, you can find yourself feeling a little awkward if your honorific isn’t “Dr.” And not being prepared to see the Vice President that day, much less meeting the Vice President within seconds of seeing him, I believe my response was “..I’m Patrick Powers. I’m her husband,” as he shook our hands.

Not exactly my most articulate moment. What was I going to say? “I’m Pat Powers, a blogger of some repute in South Dakota?”

He had a few more kind words for us, and walked on. I think my wife was taken aback slightly as well, because she asked me “did I shake his hand?” I assured her she did. So I wasn’t the only one who was a bit caught up in the moment.

In fact, we were still sitting there several minutes later as Vice President Pence passed through yet again, acknowledging us on his way by.

About then a group of people appearing to be foreign dignitaries filed in, and someone asked us if we were there for the signing. We weren’t. Thankfully, Jane arrived to save us from our own awkwardness. (Or maybe that was just my awkwardness.)

And we proceeded to sit down for a great lunch.

Again, I wish I could show you pictures. The only problem with all of it was that with our cell phones tucked away in a locker.. could I really prove that I met the VIce President today? Well, probably not.

We did do a photo outside upon retrieving our phones, moving outside the White House cell phone ban area:

So, I can prove I was there. And I can personally attest to the fact that I had an amazing day, with great company that I can’t thank my host enough for.

And as for meeting the VP and all… you’ll have to believe me on the rest.

4 thoughts on “Does it count if you got to accidentally meet the @VP if there isn’t any photographic evidence?”

  1. Good thing you were there with someone important. Your wife I mean. Neat experience I am sure.

  2. WOW!!! That is awesome! Glad to hear he’s genuinely a nice guy! What a memory! Always pays to ‘phone first’!

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