Meeting John Glenn

“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2 NIV)

While working at a radio station in Cincinnati I worked late evenings and night shifts when I was still in High School. I passed my engineering license exams when I was a Junior and had a job during my Senior year at the radio station. Fortunately, I had so many credits during my senior year I only needed to attend two classes a day. So I worked as a transmitter engineer for a local radio station.

Working late shifts in a seedy part of town had certain rules. The first rule was to never open the door to someone you don’t know after dark, or after the rest of the staff have departed leaving only me and the disk jockey in the building. So I was surprised when I heard a knock at the back door late one day. The back door had a frosted glass pane in the door so I could only see an outline of the unexpected visitor.

“Who is it?” I queried through the glass as the shadow moved back and forth highlighted by the parking lot lamp.

“John Glenn,” a male voice replied as if I would recognize the timbre of his words.

“Yeah. Right buddy! Go away or I’ll call the cops,” I responded and started to walk back to my desk.

“Really,” he continued. “Didn’t they leave you a note I was coming?” I think he was as worried at being out in the dark in this part of town as I would be.

“No note Jack, so get lost,” I replied reaching for the phone to call the police.

“Can you call your manager and check?” he asked still standing at the door.

Persistent I thought. Then I figured calling the station manager couldn’t hurt as long as the shadow didn’t attempt to break through the steel door.

“Hey, some clown outside is claiming to be John Glenn. Do you know anything about this or should I call the ploice?” I asked the manager after he answered the phone.

“Didn’t I leave a note?” he replied.

“No note,” I answered starting to see the problem.

“Oops,” was all he could say then after a moment, “Let him in. He’s recording political announcements for his senate race.”

“Ah, OK,” I responded and hung up the phone.

471_02_Furlough_HoustonSpaceCenterI walked back to the door and opened it slowly. I smiled at the up and coming senator and said, “I’m sorry sir. There was a little miss communication. Welcome to the station. I’ll be recording you this evening.”

Mr. Glenn, a hero of mine from many years of following the NASA space program, was a very gracious and forgiving person. We made the recordings and edits and left the final product for the manager. Even though it started off as a rough introduction it was one of the highlights of my life.

I’d met a real hero. I’d insulted him. I’d recorded him. I never met him again. I doubt he remembers the incident but I do.

Sometimes we have unexpected visitors in our life. Sometimes we entertain God’s special guests unaware. Perhaps I need to be a little more trusting when someone introduces themselves. They might be one of my heroes hiding behind a frosted door or a visitor from God to enhance my life.



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