Michael Virardi is a best-selling author of two books which also feature as downloadable books on Amazon: “Positive Impact!” and “Crisis? Let’s Beat it!” He is a keynote speaker at company events held world-wide. He featured, as a speaker, twice at a TEDx event (Ankara & Nicosia). To find out more about Michael and his work please visit www.michaelvirardi.com.
It was a historic day for my country: the first visit by a high-profile American politician since the early 1970s.
The former 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, was the guest speaker at the European University of Cyprus.
600 tickets had been issued and one of the lucky holders of such a ticket was Marinos Cleanthous, a young lawyer and a friend of mine.
On the day of the event, Marinos’ goal was not only to listen carefully to what ex-President Clinton had to say but to approach him and ask him to autograph Marinos’ copy of his autobiography, “My Life”.
As you can imagine this was no easy task. Security at the university was very tight and the moment Clinton’s speech finished, he was escorted out of the Amphitheatre. Marinos attempted to follow him in order to achieve what now appeared to be somewhat over-ambitious goal but the presence of the former President’s security guards prevented him from getting anywhere near Bill Clinton.
I have known Marinos for many years now and ‘aborting’ his mission was not an option. He was not about to give up yet.
As he wandered around the University’s corridors, a cleaner appeared. Immediately Marinos popped the million-dollar question:
“Excuse me! Do you happen to know where President Clinton is?”
“Of course!” she told him. “I just brought him a glass of water! He’s right behind that door!”
Marinos immediately placed Clinton’s book under his arm and tried the door she had indicated. It was unlocked and, to the lawyer’s surprise, President Clinton was just a couple of metres away with members of his security team.
The President looked up at Marinos and, without skipping a beat, asked him: “Do you want me to sign it?”
“Yes please Mr. President!” Marinos replied.
Marinos not only succeeded in carrying out one of the most important missions in his life but he learned two valuable lessons from the whole experience:
1. Just ask! Even a cleaner might know the way to approach an ex-President
2. You never know who might be behind a closed door