Friday, April 7, 2017

Making Friends on the Spot


Last year I attended the elite FBI National Academy Re-trainer Program – a group of 100 or more executive law enforcement executives from state, county, local, tribal, military, federal and international law enforcement agencies that gathered to hone their leadership skills. True American heroes; patriots, who risk their lives every day to protect, “We the people.” 

One of the speakers was, FBI SSA, Vince Dalfonzo, the hostage negotiator who negotiated the release of Captain Phillips from pirates who seized the Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean in 2009. (He also negotiated the release of the Boston Bomber from his boat hideaway.) 

Recently, I was in Ocean City, MD with two girlfriends. We had just walked the 2.5-mile length of the boardwalk. At the end, there’s a sign that says, "You’re not done until you’ve touched the spot.” We touched the spot, took our photo, and sat on a bench to wait for our friend who went to the restroom. While we were waiting, two guys walked up to the sign, looked at it, and turned around. "Eh, eh, eh,” we boldly blurted, “you’re not done until you’ve touched the spot. We're the spot checkers." They laughed, touched the spot and started walking back.

Our friend re-joined us, and we stepped in right behind them. I started telling my friends a story, saying, “When I was at the FBI Academy last year ..."

The one guy who we had just heckled, quickly turned around and asked, "Were you at the academy in Quantico?" "No,” I replied,” I was at the re-trainer academy here last April." He said, "I was too. I led the session on Captain Phillips."

Imagine my surprise and amusement at randomly meeting him again on the spot on the Ocean City, MD boardwalk.

With a grin and a chuckle, I said, "Oh, I remember you. You're the guy who negotiated Captain Philip’s release while wearing your underwear." He laughed. We walked and talked (with our friends) for about ten blocks about fond memories from last year's academy.

When you open your mouth and speak, you too may make interesting friends on the spot.

(Vince and I took a photo together to show to our law enforcement friends and prove the story. Out of respect for him, and to protect his identity I feel it is inappropriate to post the picture without permission, but here I am with my girlfriends proving that we touched the spot and completed the journey.)

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