One time I was part of a meeting with Scott Dennison. It was late in Ronald Reagan’s second term as president and he was scheduled to be there. I remember sitting there and fumbling with my sleeve. I had lost the button and it was driving me crazy. All I wanted to do was align my sleeve in a way that wouldn’t be too obvious, but it wasn’t cooperating.
I was still messing with it when President Reagan walked in. He was surrounded by Secret Service agents. I tried to hide my fiddling and he kind of winked at me and smiled like he knew my secret. He had a smile that made you feel good, like he could be your friend.
At the end of the meeting he walked up to me with a couple of other guys. He was never alone. He extended his hand and asked me my name.
“David Chung,” I said.
“Well Mr. Chung,” he said with that same warm smile. “Maybe this will help you with your shirt.” He handed me a small box which I opened immediately.
Inside the box was a pair of his personal cufflinks. I stared at the Presidential Seal standing out against the gold background and was stunned. You’ve got to be kidding me!
When I looked up at him, he was still grinning. Then he just kept walking. I know he saw my mouth hanging open before he walked away. Maybe that’s why he was grinning. Who would do something like that? No one I knew. To this day I still treasure those cufflinks and the memory of a man who paid that kind of attention to someone like me. He was a man who did what he could to make others feel comfortable. Or maybe he just liked to create reasons to giggle, I don’t know.
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