Back in the early 80’s, I had a chance to meet the late president and Mrs. Ford at their home on Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. I was attending College of the Desert at the time and was working for a valet parking company at night. My boss called me and asked me a few personal questions and asked if I had any objections to him providing my personal information to the US Secret Service. I didn’t hesitate to allow him to share my information, but of course I was very curious to what was happening. About a week later, I was told to report to the Ford residence in Rancho Mirage for a special function. To my surprise, Mrs. Ford was holding a special party and I was personally requested to provide valet parking service to the Ford’s and Firestone’s. Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Firestone (Firestone Tires) were neighbors and friends of President and Mrs. Ford. It was a chance of a lifetime to serve someone for whom I had so much respect. After the party, President and Mrs. Ford and Mr. and Mrs. Firestone personally greeted the help and thanked them for their services.
My father, who owns a very successful business in the desert had the opportunity to meet and work for the Ford’s on several occasions. One memorable moment came when I was riding around town with my father. Mrs. Ford’s assistant called my dad on his cell phone and requested he come to the residence for a special request. We arrived and found out that Mrs. Ford was having a dinner party and one of their dining room chairs had a fabric fade and she wanted the chair fixed as soon as possible. We rightfully took the chair and found an upholstery store that could match the fabric and finish the job right away.
Once again I was fortunate enough to experience the graciousness and thoughtfulness of President and Mrs. Ford. They continued to call my father for years and even sent Christmas cards to him every year.
We thank you Mr. President for being a shining star and a great example of what a leader should be. Rest in peace. ~