One cool thing about working at a newspaper is that you never know who you might run into in the hallway. A few years back, Bono stopped by for a chat with the editorial board about his organization that promotes assistance for Africa. He was in town to meet with Bill Gates, who had given some money to the organization.
When he came out of the meeting, there were about 20 of us just standing around to meet him. I got to shake his hand but didn’t talk to him. I was surprised that he was my height — I expected him to be taller.
Our receptionist at the time (Michelle) was from Killarney in Ireland. She wanted to meet him and get him to sign her Irish flag. So we asked his assistant if she could make sure Michelle got to meet him before he left, and when he came out of the meeting, his assistant grabbed him and brought him over to Michelle. The picture below was taken when they were being introduced (from left, Bono, me, and my co-worker Frank).
He sat down and held her hand while they talked about Ireland, about how she ended up in Seattle, etc, and then he signed her flag. It was pretty cool — they talked for about 10 minutes and he acted as if she were the only person there. One of his folks told him they needed to get going, so they left before I got a chance to talk with him, but I got photographic proof, and it was as neat to watch him visiting with Michelle as it would have been to talk to him myself. Very unassuming and personal.
One interesting thing was that about a year earlier, Gerry Adams (president of Sinn Fein) had been in to visit with the board and signed her flag. When Bono signed her flag, he crossed out Gerry Adams’ signature. He also commented about how they should tear off the green and orange panels (which represent the Catholic and Protestant resident groups in Ireland) and just leave the white (which, according to the Government of Ireland, “signifies a lasting truce between the ‘Orange’ and the ‘Green’.”