I’ve had some interesting travel experiences over the past few years including sharing an elevator with the Hulkster in NYC, passing customs in Heathrow with George Michael and chatting with Mark Cuban at the Palms in Vegas.
Nothing matched my experience, though, sitting next to Al Gore on my flight Saturday night. Although we didn’t chat much, it was interesting simply to observe the man. Mr. Gore was unassuming in the entire 4 hours flight from Nashville, TN to Oakland, CA. To the naked observer, you would have never known he was a Noble Peace Price Winner or someone who was a stones throw away from being the most powerful man in the world.
In case you were interested, a few stats from the flight…
- Number of times Al put on his sunglasses: 1 (when people were boarding the flight)
- Beers drank: 2 (he had 2 Heineken’s to my one Bud Light)
- Times bothered on the flight from passengers (not including myself): 2 (although he did respond to one guy, “say hello to the family”)
- Publications read: over 4 (he read the whole flight including the Wall St. Journal, the Economist, and the NY Times. This did not include the stack of graphs and charts he reviewed)
- Number of Alameda sheriffs deputies awaiting his arrival at the gate: 3 (although they never introduced themselves and simply shadowed him until he got to his awaiting town car).
- Number of times I thanked him for the great work he has done on behalf of my children: 1
A couple of other fun facts:
- He’s an iPhone guy (he does sit on the Apple Board of Directors).
- He’s a hell of a traveler (he packed everything he needed in a single briefcase size carry-on).
What was most interesting about the whole experience is that he was not on a private jet or even seated in first class on a major carrier but riding alongside the rest of us “Joe the Plumbers” on Southwest Airlines (he was allowed to board before all other passengers though).
Nice work Mr. Gore for your integrity.