Another Day on the Job

Another Day on the Job

What I Said to the Prince

Every year the Intrepid Air and Space Museum hosts an event for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. It’s a huge fundraising event where veterans and injured veterans are invited, along with a keynote speaker. At this particular event in 2010, the keynote speaker just happened to be Britain’s own Prince Harry!!!

In late June, the flight deck reaches temperatures of 90-110°F, so hot that the rubber soles of your shoes will melt. That’s where I’m at, setting up chairs, decorations, and speakers for the big speech. Needless to say, I’m a hot, sweaty mess. Below the flight deck, other museum staff are changing into their fancy clothes and learning how to address His Royal Highness.

All staff get called below deck to line up before the Prince’s arrival. As he enters the ship, he’s greeted by the higher-ups of the Museum. He makes his way down the line; bow, curtsy, handshake, repeat. He gets closer and closer to where I’m standing at the end of the line. Three people ahead of me—oh God I’m not prepared for this—two people now—what am I wearing—now just one person—ok, deep breath—he’s here.

The President and Vice President of the Intrepid are standing behind him. I am intensely aware of my disheveled appearance as he thanks me for the hard work and asks me how it’s all going.

“It’s all good.”

As soon as the words come out of my mouth, I know that I’ve made a humongous fool out of myself. The Vice President is staring at me, eyes bulging and mouthing the words I just said. There’s nothing else to do in this situation but laugh. So, I do, but it comes out as a nervous, braying laugh—adding to my embarrassment. Prince Harry laughs too, a dignified chuckle in stark contrast to my loud guffaw. After he walks away, the Vice President pulls me aside humorously chastising me. He can’t believe what I just said to the Prince and neither can I.

Prince Harry’s speech on the flight deck and the following reception go well. Even though I made a fool out of myself, it was all for a good cause. At the end of the day, I wasn’t there to meet the Prince, I was there to make sure the event was executed. Meeting him was just a royal perk.