Several years ago, I attended an educator’s conference where a gentleman named Ben shared a story that I’ll never forget. A few years earlier, the presidential election campaigning was getting underway, with a large number of candidates from both sides of the aisle vying for their party’s nomination. Ben had been asked by one of the candidates to serve on the campaign staff. He agreed, and the next few weeks were a whirlwind of events, speeches, and campaign stops in town after town.
Because this particular presidential candidate had received several death threats, the U.S. Secret Service had assigned the candidate a protective detail of security agents. Whenever the campaign was planning to hold a private meeting with outside individuals, they had to clear their guest list in advance with the Secret Service.
One evening, Ben had organized a small meet-and-greet with the candidate and some donors which was to be held in the conference room of a hotel. Just as the event was about to start, the lead Secret Service agent abruptly pulled him aside and handed him a piece of paper.
“There are 14 names on this list!” the agent snapped in a rather agitated manner.
"I’m sorry, what?” replied Ben.
“There are 14 names on this list!” the agent repeated in an even firmer tone.
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” Ben apologized.
The agent pointed to the list and then to the room. “There are only 14 names on the approved list you submitted. But there are 15 people in this room. Who is unaccounted for?”
Embarrassed, Ben quickly scanned the list and then the room. “Oh, I see the mistake. It’s Tom. He’s a good friend of ours. He was a last-minute addition. I forgot to let you know. But he’s totally cool. Not a threat. It’s just our friend Tom.”
The agent looked Ben in the eye and said something very profound...
“If you care at all about your candidate, you need to start caring about who’s in the room.”
Cultivating godly influencers
Wilmington Christian School provides a distinctively Christian, innovative education that effectively develops Godly influencers who are well prepared for life after high school and who impact the culture for Christ.