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Author Topic: A sweet story, God knows we could use one
TMBWITW,PB

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Icon 1 posted October 05, 2008 16:51      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So much nastiness is going around during this incredibly heated election that I'm getting sick of hearing about any of it. I want it to be November 4 already. Fortunately, not everything I've found is full of vitriol.

This news story originally appeared in Norwegian here and was translated into English here.

quote:
Mary lacked money to fly home to Norway – he saved her love

ÅSGÅRDSTRAND (VG): Mary was a newlywed and ready to move to Norway, but was stopped at the airport because she didn’t have enough money for the trip. Then a stranger turned up and paid for her.

Mary Menth Andersen was 31 years old at the time and had just married Norwegian Dag Andersen. She was looking forward to starting a new life in Åsgårdstrand in Vestfold with him. But first she had to get all of her belongings across to Norway. The date was November 2nd, 1988.
At the airport in Miami things were hectic as usual, with long lines at the check-in counters. When it was finally Mary’s turn and she had placed her luggage on the baggage line, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness.
-You’ll have to pay a 103 dollar surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway, the man behind the counter said.
Mary had no money. Her new husband had travelled ahead of her to Norway, and she had no one else to call.
-I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions, says Mary.

Although she explained the situation to the man behind the counter, he showed no signs of mercy.
-I started to cry, tears were pouring down my face and I had no idea what to do. Then I heard a gentle and friendly voice behind me saying, That’s OK, I’ll pay for her.
Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before.
-He had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive. The first thing I thought was, Who is this man?
Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man.
-He was nicely dressed, fashionably dressed with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants, says Mary.
She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.

The piece of paper said ‘Barack Obama’ and his address in Kansas, which is the state where his mother comes from. Mary carried the slip of paper around in her wallet for years, before it was thrown out.
-He was my knight in shining armor, says Mary, smiling.
She paid the 103 dollars back to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway. At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid community worker* in Chicago, and had started his law studies at prestigious Harvard university.
In the spring of 2006 Mary’s parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president, but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter in which they told him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they thanked Obama for helping their daughter 18 years earlier.
In a letter to Mary’s parents dated May 4th, 2006 and stamped ‘United States Senate, Washington DC’, Barack Obama writes**:
‘I want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I’m happy I could help back then, and I’m delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in Norway. Please send her my best wishes. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States senator’.
The parents sent the letter on to Mary.

This week VG met her and her husband in the café that she runs with her friend Lisbeth Tollefsrud in Åsgårdstrand.
-It’s amazing to think that the man who helped me 20 years ago may now become the next US president, says Mary delightedly.
She has already voted for Obama. She recently donated 100 dollars to his campaign.
She often tells the story from Miami airport, both when race issues are raised and when the conversation turns to the presidential elections.
-I sincerely hope the Americans will see reason and understand that Obama means change, says Mary.

And here she is with her husband and the letter.
 -


*Not at all sure about this part of the translation. The Norwegian word used is 'miljøarbeider', I don't know what the exact English word for that is or even if there is one, and I don't know enough about Obama to say what job of his they're talking about.
**This is my translation of the reporter's translation of the letter. From English to Norwegian and back to English. So obviously it is not correct word for word.



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"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."
—Miss Piggy

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Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted October 05, 2008 17:42      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thank you for sharing.

A wonderful story!

[Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause]

CP

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Snaggy

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Icon 14 posted October 05, 2008 20:41      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
nice! [Happytears]

Thanks for sharing that peebs!

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Nitrozac

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Icon 12 posted October 05, 2008 20:48      Profile for Nitrozac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
maybe Mary is a domestic terrorist! [Wink] That's a great story. What a great guy!I wish they'd let Canadians vote. haha.
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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 00:25      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This doesn't seem plausible. Barack would have been poor at this time working as a community orginizer in Chicago. $100 would have been alot. They didn't start charging for more then 2 bags until recently. And before 2004 the weight limits were still pretty high. 32 kilos instead of 20 to 22.

nice story, but I don't believe it.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 00:47      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How recent is recent? 'Cuz they were charging extra for >2 bags in the 90's. Charging for more than one or even a single bag is the new development.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 00:54      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ashitaka:
Barack would have been poor at this time working as a community orginizer in Chicago. $100 would have been alot.

You forgot his other salary, as an Al Qaeda sleeper-agent.

quote:
before 2004 the weight limits were still pretty high. 32 kilos instead of 20 to 22.
Um, I travelled by air a lot in the late 80's/early 90's, and the airlines I usually used (i.e. the really cheap ones) had 20kg limits then.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 01:09      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ashitaka:
This doesn't seem plausible. Barack would have been poor at this time working as a community orginizer in Chicago. $100 would have been alot. They didn't start charging more for 2 bags until recently. And before 2004 the weight limits were still pretty high. 32 kilos instead of 20 to 22.

nice story, but I don't believe it.

EDIT: word order changed.

EDIT:

I hit reply instead of edit, damn.

Anyways my only expierience is taht 2003, visiting switzerland I was allowed 2 bags 30 some kilos on Swiss, 2005 moving to switzerland, I was allowed 2 bags 22 kilos. It was difficult to choose which computers to bring and wich to leave behind as computers weigh several kilos each.

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"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

-Assif Mandvi

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 03:38      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
_______________ Yes Parts of the Story do not seem correct.

____ In 1985 I found out about a group tour to Ireland in fact the area where my Mothers Grand Father was from, Being a Tour the Airplane was chartered by the Tour group. An old DC-8 Stretch this plan was built as a 24 rows of seats plane for a major airline, now it is being used by an charter carrier they added eight rows of seats by moving them closer together, come on the seat bolts fit into T-slots and next time you fly look at the overhead panel and see it is built to accommodate any spacing you want. The trip to Ireland was uneventful, However when at Shannon we were told of the weight limits for our return flight, the charter airline did let groups average weights but there was a weight limit. A lot of the people did have to send their extra baggage home as freight, I did not realize until the airport that I had done well by having the gifts I had bought sent home by the vendors. Still when you figure the extra fuel load to fight the headwinds, all of the extra baggage, that plane sure took a long time (for the treadmill to get it going) to airspeed, and then climbing.

____ Yes, there were weight limits on some flights, depend on who you flew with.

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Benjamin Franklin,

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TMBWITW,PB

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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 06:59      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In the comments on the English site they address the credibility somewhat.

quote:
Leisha Camden said...
Margo: A point in favor of believing the story is that this newspaper is the biggest in the country ... they have a circulation of over one million, which of course sounds absolutely tiny to you ;-) but bearing in mind that our entire population is only 4.7 million, they do actually have a huge readership ... and a certain reputation to uphold. Their reporter has obviously seen the letter from Obama and I think I can pretty much guarantee you that the story has been thoroughly checked out. :-)

findabair: I agree, it definitely says something. It isn't a big deal, but what he did (I do believe the story; I see no reason not to) is something that not everyone would do. I can't say for sure that I would have done it myself.

My main reason for believing this story: VG is running it only for their own benefit (ie, to sell more papers because people will want to read about this very tenuous connection between Norway and Obama) - it can have no impact on the election in any way, so there would be no reason to invent it. That would be a lot of effort for basically no reward. The only thing that can benefit from this is VG's circulation ... but that only applies if the story is true, because otherwise it would hurt their overall credibility. That's my reasoning, anyway. :-)

and
quote:
Leisha Camden said...
Oh, and also: the url below will give you this woman's full name, address and cell phone number. I suppose anyone who's interested can send her a postcard and ask her to fax over a copy of the letter. ;-)

http://www.gulesider.no/telefonkatalogen/Mary_Elizabeth_Menth_Andersen/00000000000M01IYAK2/?q=mary+menth+andersen&offset=0&index=0

As to the amount of money he should have had, the CPI has roughly doubled since 1983, i.e. $1 in 1983 would buy the same as about $2.20 now, and this happened in 1988. So this is the equivalent of him giving someone about $200. Yes, this is a lot of money for someone making community organizer wages, but he was single and didn't have kids. That makes a huge difference in your disposable income, believe me. And even I can scrape together a couple of hundred dollars to help someone who really needs it. Is it really so hard to believe that a politician could be kind and selfless sometimes? It shouldn't be.

Now, is it true? I hope so, I guess there's really no way to be sure unless I actually try to get in touch with either Obama himself or this woman, but neither of those is really practical. Either way, it's a nice story and the only story I've heard about McCain from 20 years ago involves him telling jokes about women getting raped by gorillas.

--------------------
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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 07:21      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Why is it so hard to believe that someone who wasn't rich helped someone?

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 07:48      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by GrumpySteen:
Why is it so hard to believe that someone who wasn't rich helped someone?

The timing

--------------------
"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

-Assif Mandvi

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 07:57      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
_________________ GrumpySteen __ It is one of those I don't believe it, type of stories that the GOP types or Bible thumpers want to disbelieve. In my association, with the Salvation Army, Red Cross, and other things like Soup kitchens. It is not the high rollers that give a lot but the people of modest means that give a much bigger percentage.

___ I believe that Jesus even had a parable about a camel and a needle.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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Stereo

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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 08:09      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TheMoMan:
___ I believe that Jesus even had a parable about a camel and a needle.

Much better than that: Jesus warned about the pharisees giving ostensibly a large amount in order to gain public sympathy (while it really meant little to them), while the little contributions from the poorer classes were a much greater sacrifice.

It's almost a shame that overall, people's heart haven't changed in 2000 years. (But all the same, it is probably true that people's heart haven's changed much since the very first society.)

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 08:13      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ashitaka:
quote:
Originally posted by GrumpySteen:
Why is it so hard to believe that someone who wasn't rich helped someone?

The timing
So, to your mind, it's inconcievable that someone running for office could have done something nice in the past and a newspaper would find out about it and publish a story now that it's topical, would interest people and possibly help sell more papers?

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 09:10      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
And let's not forget this story came out in a Norwegian newspaper. I don't think Obama is campaigning in Norway. [Wink]

The amount of crap you can take on a plane with you depends on what the plane is physically capable of lifting and what the carrier is willing to put up with in terms of fuel. A discount airliner isn't going to be so keen on extra fuel for heavier luggage if they're selling cheap tickets. And overweight penalties on baggage have always been evil.

MoMan, I took ski planes onto and off of Denali last year. Getting on the mountain they weighed our bags of gear, and then they weighed us with our climbing gear on (the boots alone added ~ 4 pounds to a person's weight) and sorted us into planes. It was approximately divided into smaller people + lots of gear and bigger people + less gear. Coming off it was more casual. We were a lighter load, having eaten the food.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
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snupy
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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 14:18      Profile for snupy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Why is this not on my online bible, Snopes???? [Frown]

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TMBWITW,PB

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Icon 1 posted October 06, 2008 16:11      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I supposed we could always submit it to them and have them check it out. I've already sent an email to the Obama campaign asking about it, but considering it's only 29 days until the election and the volume of emails they must receive, I doubt if I'll be getting a reply any time soon (if ever).
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