'I Sat Next To Him At A Lady Gaga Concert.' People Who Have Actually Met Donald Trump Share What He Was Really Like.
The media can trick us into thinking we know people. We might know what they said, or did; we might know all the facts of their lives - birthday, spouse, net worth etc. But that doesn't mean we know them.
These people actually had the chance to meet President-elect Donald Trump before he got elected. Here's what they have to say about him.
This piece is based on an AskReddit thread. Link on the last page.
1/19. When I was a kid I was friends with a very, I repeat very wealthy kid. We went to the same boxing gym. He was the son of someone very important in California, probably an oil mogul or something.
One day we were invited to a barbecue to celebrate his birthday, and arriving there his dad take us on a tour of the giant house, and introduces us to all the other guests who where his friends.
One of those guests was Mr. Donald Trump.
I shook his hand and he said "Ow, that's a pretty solid handshake." I said thanks and he asked me if I happened to be Samoan, because I was pretty strong for a 14 year old. I said my family was from New Zealand, and thus was of Maori descent. He said "That's nice, I always wanted to go to New Zealand."
Then he told us to study hard and work hard so we all could live in big houses like our hosts when we grew up. Then he went back to talking to the other people.
2/19. Donald Trump came into the movie theater I used to work at, and I served him at the concession stand. He asked about the flavors of our Slushies, they were White Cherry and Cotton Candy. He got the Cotton Candy. Donald Trump enjoys cotton candy, and I literally know that for a fact forever now. He also paid in exact change.
3/19. I never talked to him, but I was at a party he attended about 18 months ago. He wasn't rude at all, just odd. He told a story about how Bill Gates once told a room of people that he (Donald) was really smart and had good ideas. It felt weirdly self-conscious on his part.
I also met his helicopter pilots, who said that he was a nice guy, always making sure they were taken care of, had eaten, etc.
4/19. I was in NYC visiting family when I took a walk through central park and I sat down at a bench with a couple sodas. I'm relaxing with some music, taking in all the good times people are having, when I feel someone sit down next to me. (continued...)
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I can tell the guy is breathing a little hard, like he just took a really long walk or something. I turn to look at the guy, and it's actually the Don. He asks if he could have a Coke because he was kinda thirsty. So I gave him one.
We talk for a couple minutes, until a guy comes up behind him and whispers something in his ear. Donald says he has to go, hands me a 20, and tells me something like "If you need something, don't be afraid to jump at an opportunity. The whole time I'm just kinda sitting there starstruck like what just happened?
Everybody was turning their heads when he walked to his car with the other guy and a few were looking at me like I must be somebody and I'm just sitting there confused about everything.
He seemed like a reserved guy, pretty chill and he had a love for that park because he talked about how he took his kids there a lot when they were younger.
5/19. I worked for one of his golf courses in California. He signed a bunch of shirts that said "You're Fired! - The Donald" on them for us.
He definitely didnt seem like the persona he portrayed while running for president.
6/19. Back in darker times, I worked at a Chick-Fil-A in California. I was working the drive through one night, when I took an order from a chauffeur driving one of those black livery sedans.
When he pulled up to the window, he handed me exact change, then pulled forward a bit when I went to hand the food through. Mr. Trump lowered the back window, took the food, and said, "Thanks very much." before they rolled away. I was pretty surprised.
7/19. So I'm eating dinner at the Silver Star Diner on 2nd avenue in NYC. This is about 1993. At the table next to me is comedian Jackie Mason. The Diner has floor to ceiling windows and outside walks by Trump, Marla Maples (his wife at the time), Trump's parents and couple of other people.
Trump sees Mason, enters the restaurants, and heads toward the table. But that brings him right past our table. (continued...)
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On the way by, his father bumps into my table and knocks over my water. He apologizes and I say it's ok. Marla actually grabs some napkins and starts cleaning it. Trump goes on about what a horror it is (clearly joking) and says he will buy me a new water "as many as you want".
Then Jackie Mason goes on for 20 minutes about how cheap Trump is. He has the whole Diner in stitches. Trump jokes it's not his fault because he just gave Ivana (his ex-wife) "a whole lot of money". Donald took it well but he left about halfway through, smiling and waiving at everyone.
8/19. I went to high school in New York and I had a job as a busboy at The Four Seasons. Trump was going there quite a bit at that time, and actually said hi to me whenever he saw me.
The part that impressed me was that he remembered my name. He remembered the name of a busboy he saw maybe twice a month. I think he is a lot smarter than he presents himself.
9/19. My mom was on a design team when he was building one of his many golf courses like 15 years ago, so she saw him every day. He and Melania hadn't married yet but they were also in the midst of designing a new estate he had just bought.
Tiffany was little and always came into the office with them but she was basically glued to Melania's hip. They were really close. I was also small but sometimes if I came into the office to visit my mom Tiffany and I would play but I don't remember what she was like.
Apparently Trump was a really decent guy. He once turned to my mom and said "you're a designer." He asked her about putting a kitchen in a Tudor mansion, inquiring as to what kind of cabinets should they install. My mom was like "oh obviously cherry" and Melania turned to Trump and said "HA!" So he was like "alright, okay, you win.
My mom says back then he was pleasant and professional.
I also think it's interesting to add that my mom also swears that he was planning his run for president all the way back then and she overheard them all the time casually mentioning it.
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10/19. I bumped into him on the street in 2014. I was looking at my watch and ran into him by accident as he was getting out of his car in front of his building. I apologized. He said it was quite all right, and we went our separate ways. It was very civil, all things considered.
11/19. I worked at one of his golf courses for 3 years as a valet and i also upkept the practice facilities (including driving around the ball picker upper).
Every time I dealt with Donald, he was more than respectful. Also we had an Mexican guy who cleaned carts, Felip who he personally provided housing for out of his own pocket because he thought Felip was such a good worker and valuable asset to the course (which he was, the guy was so nice and a crazy good worker). All in all, I had a polar opposite view of who Donald Trump was prior to this election cycle.
12/19. I did actually meet and had about a 2-3 minute conversation with big Don a few years ago at a party of a friend of a friend.
Like you hear about a lot of celebrities, he came off as incredibly bright and engaging but also pretty intimidating.
You always see those pictures of him with his eyes locked giving someone the death glare, but to me it seemed like he was very focussed. Like he's recording everything you say.
I have no doubt at some point in some future conversation he'd recall, oh yeah I've heard that traffic on the Merritt southbound isn't too bad Saturday afternoons in August. Meanwhile I was a complete mess trying to hold the full and complete attention of a multi-billionaire, wondering if I accidentally said something wrong. Like I said, super intimidating but also smart and engaging.
Another thing I have no doubt about is that a lot of his election missteps (not all of course) were solely plays to get attention. He definitely stuck me as being far too thoughtful to slip up in as many ways as it seemed he did. You simply don't get that rich being stupid.
13/19. Believe it or not, Donald Trump showed up at my cousin's sweet 16 birthday party about seven or eight years ago. (continued...)
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It was at a ballroom at a golf club he owned. He walked in, and took pictures with us for maybe 10 minutes. Whatever you think about him, he really didnt need to do any of that.
This was in the first couple of seasons of The Apprentice so to see a guy from TV as well as whatever else Trump was at the time was impressive.
14/19. I worked at one of his resorts last year. I interacted with his whole family consistently and (some) of them were always really nice. Only saw him a handful of times just coming by the pool to shake hands or at banquets I worked at the golf course. The only time he spoke to me I was monitoring the buffet to keep it full. He walked in with a hamburger on his plate, turned to me and asked "Where can I get some french fries?" I pointed to the french fries.
I also know people he personally defrauded for contractor work, but that's neither here nor there. The only thing I can attest to with my own eyes is that he eats like a 12 year-old me.
15/19. I met him maybe 12 years ago at a resort he owned in West Palm Beach Florida.
We were there to attend a wedding for my Mom's boss. (I was maybe 12 years old at the time.) He came down during brunch the morning after the wedding and said hello. He talked to my parents a little bit. The only thing I really recall is that he tussled (not sure if that's the right word) my hair, and handed me a bottle of Trump brand water. Which I still have to this day!
16/19. I worked at one of his golf courses recently for a few months. He would come pretty often, especially once the election began, as it was a good way to keep some privacy.
I actually met him a few times during my work there, but the one I remember most was when I had to bring food to his private cottage. I weent through secret service checking me, and I knocked on his door. He didn't answer, so I knocked again. Didn't answer, so I tried one more time. He opened the door and the conversation went like this. (continued...)
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"I have your pasta primavera sir. "Not for me, what is it again?" "Pasta primavera. "Yeah not for me, sorry. And with that, he shut the door. Turned out it was for his speech writer for the convention who was in a room next door.
Another time I watched him watch himself giving on interview on NBC in the men's lounge and his reactions were interesting. There were a few moments he claimed comments were taken out of context, while some of his friends argued that it didnt sound so bad.
here were private discussions that took place with his team that I didn't get a chance to be around as my manager made me do my job.
17/19. I got crazy good seats to a Lady Gaga concert. I was next to him and Melania. They left early.
18/19. Trump owns a golf resort in Scotland not far from my home, and he was speaking at a chambers of commerce meeting a couple of years ago, catered by students of the local cookery college, of which I was one - we did little canapes and nibbles, nothing major, but he popped in and thanked us for our efforts and said he enjoyed the food, which was nice of him.
19/19. Some years ago, I worked on a live TV talk show where Trump was a fairly regular guest.
He liked coming on to expound on business/economics/politics almost at will, and he liked that we were live, with no sneaky post-production editing that might twist his words.
In return, we, the staff, liked having him on, because for us it was basically a night off. Minimal research, no prep. The show basically ran on autopilot and our ratings with Trump were always good.
Trump was what the talk biz calls a "great guest" -- and that's a small pool of people. Great guests can answer a curveball question on the fly, don't have to have everything scripted in advance, contribute energy to the show... they know their job is to say something provocative to help the show roll forward and assist the host. Trump was all of that.
In retrospect he was using us, and all media, to elevate his visibility and star status, but still. We would chat in the makeup room about the state of the financial markets and whether us small fries should pull back or double down. He was always pleasant. Not at all the snarling, babbling cartoon man I started seeing at campaign rallies last year.
You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, or so the saying goes.
The same can be said for your interactions with cops, most of whom are perfectly happy to let minor infractions slide––When was the last time you were actually ticketed for jaywalking?––provided you're not a total Karen should you interact them.
Your local police officer likely doesn't care about jaywalking or the fact that you went five miles over the speed limit unless you give him a reason to, as we learned when Redditor Takdel asked police officers: "What stupid law have you enforced just because someone was an a-hole?"