September 20, 2004
Shaking of Hands
I just delivered a CD to somebody at the New York State Theater. On my way back to work, I passed by Avery Fisher Hall, where John Kerry was speaking at a luncheon. A small crowd of 10-15 had gathered by the stage door, and I joined them, hoping for a glimpse of John Kerry.
Sure enough, moments later, John Kerry and Teresa walked out the stage door. Kerry smiled and waved to my group that was about 30 feet away. He and Teresa stood side by side with their arms around each other and posed for the cameras that were on the opposite side of the stage door. My little crowd clapped and waved again, and Kerry walked over to us to sign somebody’s autograph. He made a little joke that I couldn’t quite hear, and then he started working the line to shake hands. I’m pretty short, and I didn’t want to push my way towards him (there were two people right in front of me), but after he shook their hands, he waited a second for them to move, and then he shook my hand.
Yes, John Kerry shook my hand. I was giddy like a school girl.
And this will sound silly from that 5-second encounter, but he felt completely genuine. He looked like a sincerely good man, and somehow looked like he cared that I was there. There was a kind, unforced smile, direct eye contact, and a firm handshake.
And in those 5 seconds, the candidate whom I’ve wanted so desperately to feel connected with — he finally connected.
If only he could shake another 100 million hands in the next 6 weeks.