“Say hello to Barack for us, will ya?”
It took me a year and a half working at Penn to finally meet a celebrity (if you will). And this was my big break. We’re talking the VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. I tried to act cooler than I felt, but it’s not every day you are graced with the presence of Mr. Biden.
It was the day before elections: November 7th, 2016. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m an Event Coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania. I came to the Ivy League with the expectation of meeting at least a handful of noteworthy figures during my first couple months. I haven’t been entirely let down either, as I have seen the President of Germany from afar, as well as the President of Rwanda. We have hosted events with Serena Williams, Anna Kendrick, and Andy Samberg, but this was of a whole different caliber. This was Joe Biden.
The other event coordinators and I caught wind that we were to expect a political figure to make an appearance in our building sometime that Monday. There was no who, when, or how. Quickly, the speculation began. We knew Hillary voted in New York that morning, which meant plenty of time to catch a flight to the City of Brotherly Love. But security would have swept our building earlier, no? Okay, couldn’t be her. Then that probably rules out Obama and the other nominee. Could be a senator or governor, but why would that cause gossip on the grapevine?
Now, Biden… he voted that morning in Delaware. Neighboring state, ties with Penn (his granddaughter attends), now this was proving more promising.
Still, we had no clue. Did I mention we’re event coordinators? Good with people and organization, not necessarily political gurus. With the internet in our arsenal, it was a guessing game at best. We could only narrow down so many facts, and I could only refresh “political figure in Philadelphia” on Twitter a few times without my head starting to hurt from skimming the pages.
Our next move? A stakeout, obviously.
So now we’re making our way downtown … jk, downstairs, and out the main entrance of our building. It is close to noon and we saw some stirring of large black SUVs out our window, and that was enough persuasion to commence movement. It started with four of us, then we caught someone else’s attention, and some of the catering team came outside to join us as well. At this point, we are a pack of eight people standing along a street in Philadelphia on November 7th without coats on. Completely blending in, of course. It took about thirty minutes of this stakeout – watching Penn Police direct traffic, our manager texting us that we’re crazy, and some stern-looking security men glancing our way – until his car pulled up.
Joe. Freaking. Biden. The most handsome 74-year-old I’ve ever laid eyes on.
He was as sweet as he could be, joking and laughing behind his Ray-Bans (yes, Ray-Bans *swag*). He asked if we voted, and his granddaughter made her grand appearance as they hugged and joked about which food truck to eat at. We waited in line to take our group picture, shake his hand, and tell him to say hi to Barack for us.
I’ll finish this post by confirming for all of you: Joe Biden is just as sweet and goofy as you’ve always imagined him.