While attending the RNC in Tampa, I had the opportunity to meet and chat with some of the high profile leaders of conservativism. Folks I hold in the highest esteem like Charles Krauthammer and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.
Yet the most impressive person I encountered while at the convention was my waiter.
For reasons that will be shortly apparent, I am going to have to change some names but please bear with me.
One night during the convention, I went to a local eatery to grab a bite when I noticed my waiter had a pronounced eastern European accent. Upon asking his place of origin, "Jerry" replied Czechoslovakia.
After making some small talk about how great Prague is and how friendly its residents are, I ate my meal and went off to the convention.
A day or so later I was back at the dining establishment and just so happen to end up at a table within "Jerry's" station. Because that night was particularly busy there, I told him that I wanted to leave a tip for him early in case I had to take off right after finishing dinner and asked him to change a twenty, intending to leave a ten dollar tip (50%) because of his outstanding service as a waiter.
As he handed me four fives, I asked when he came over to the States and his answer led to an incredible tale far more memorable than any speech at the convention. Even Dirty Harry's.
"Jerry" said that he had ESCAPED from Czechslovakia in the eighties and that he had been a political prisoner during the Communist regime. He traced his disaffection with the Soviet Union to his childhood days, when in 1968, a Soviet tank ran over his pet dog during the Warsaw Pact invasion of his country.
Apparently the Russians did not appreciate the dog's barking.
"Jerry" then described how he was drafted into the military though had also been active with the anti-Communist underground. After being arrested for subversive activities, "Jerry" managed to flee his homeland, though he had family still living there, something the Communist regime opted to exploit.
A call was made to "Jerry" by his mother, who was in police custody. The idea was for her to talk him into returning to Czechoslovakia. When the two made contact, his mother simply said not to worry about her and that he should not come back.
Furious by this act of motherly sacrifice, the Communist authorities immediately cut the line and sent "Jerry's" mother to prison.
After navigating through Yugoslavia, "Jerry" made it to Italy where he met up with operatives with the Central Intelligence Agency and dutifully informed them of previously unknown missile sites in Czechoslovakia.
A one-way trip to America was his immediate reward for this valuable service.
Unfortunately the engineer has had a tough time adjusting to American labor bureaucracy. Though a skilled electrician and plumber, "Jerry" has not been able to attain a license to apply his training and thus this educated fifty something who had delivered to the CIA secret Warsaw Pact intel was bringing me a hamburger and fries that night.
Stunned into a near stupor by his story, I slid the entirity of the changed twenty back over to "Jerry" as a final payment of sorts for his service to his new country.