All for Trump and Trump for All
So who came to meet Donald Trump at a New York Barnes & Noble the other day — and have him sign his new book, "Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life," and possibly get one of the $100 bills he was handing out FREE?
Lots of giddy ladies. A man of the cloth. A man without a home. A presidential candidate. And a child whose mother took him out of school for this historic opportunity.
"Fourth grade and he's only 9!" she crowed.
Aren't all fourth-graders 9?
In other words, a great swath of humanity turned out, all eager to meet the one man (besides Santa) who could make their dreams come true.
"He is a blessed man with the most beautiful wives and the most beautiful kids, and if Rosie comes around, she must deal with me ," Chirata Mina, a single mom, declared. She had dressed for the occasion in pink (or "peenk," as she pronounced it): "Peenk scarf, peenk beautiful dress a la Jackie Onassis — I just bought it, new. The bracelet is peenk, the bag is peenk, the lipstick is peenk," she puckered. All because Mina thinks pink is a lucky color. And this was a day suffused with luck.
"Some friend of my brother's told me they were giving out $100 bills, and guess what?" the man behind her, Pop Henderson, said. "If they're ever giving out any more $100 bills, I'm going to be there, too," he said, flashing the crisp new Benjamin he'd just received.
Henderson lives on the sidewalk. But now that he's got $100, "I'm going to give it to me and my young girl," he said, smiling.
"Oh, I can't tell you that," said the 64-year-old.
Well, how did they meet?
"I said, 'Dang, girl! I got a big bottle of baby oil. You want to share it with me?'"
"I'm going to put my $100 in my nephew's plan for college," a math teacher said. Others were planning to frame their windfall, as inspiration. The fourth-grader was hoping to spend his on Halo 3, if his mom will let him.
She won't. Besides, he only got $50, as did the second hundred people in line. Only the first hundred people got $100.
Whatever their take, most of the people immediately turned around and spent $20.44 of it on Trump's book because they truly believe it will help them change their lives. And, frankly, it just might.
Trump's co-author is the founder of The Learning Annex, Bill Zanker, who already had built his adult education empire into a $5.5 million business when he got the idea of inviting Trump to teach a class.
"I really wanted to get him, so I decided to go for it. I offered what to me was an enormous amount of money: $10,000," Zanker writes. Trump's secretary, Norma, politely hung up.
Zanker called back a few days later offering $25,000. The next week, $100,000. Finally he called to offer $1 million, "And Norma said, 'That's very interesting. I'll talk to Donald about it.'"
Less than an hour later, Trump called back. Deal. And today — three years later — The Learning Annex is a $100-million enterprise.
It's that kind of story that electrified the people in line. The presidential candidate, Libertarian John Finan, wants Trump to be his running mate. The minister, Gregory Dwyer, wants Trump to help keep his church solvent. Accountant Galina Babushkin just wanted to soak up his magic: "I like his arrogance."
Trump, signing his books, looked up, grinning. "It's a big crowd. It could go on forever!" he said.
OK, arrogance. But when you're handing out hope as well as hundreds, maybe that's not so bad.
Lenore Skenazy is a columnist at The New York Sun and Advertising Age. To find out more about Lenore Skenazy (firstname.lastname@example.org) and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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