By Nancy Vaughn
“Alright, everyone stay together,” the principal called out as the students slowly exited the bus. “There are lots of other people here to see the White House so keep track of our group. No backpacks needed.”
I was one of several chaperones with the eighth grade class that came from California. My daughter was the history teacher running the show and I was excited to see Washington, D.C. with her and the students. It was my first time in the nation’s capital. Boy was I ready for the adventure.
We had five days packed with an unbelievable itinerary that would help us hit most of the memorials, museums and other sites. Here I am a 60 year old woman expected to keep up with the students and the other much younger chaperones. This was a challenge I would meet fed by my joy of being on the trip.
We had just arrived at the White House and the place was loaded with lots of other tourists. Pushing our way through the crowds we made it to the fence. After we started to take photos the kids were pushing and shoving to get their shots. I moved back and bumped into a man sitting on a bench. I apologized and he smiled. He was a very handsome African American man with close cropped silver hair. I made a comment about people wanting their pics and he nodded and laughed. I moved away to find my daughter and forgot about the encounter.
Our group moved to the west to go around to the other side of the White House. As we were walking I looked up to see this same man walking toward us. He passed by never looking at us. He was tall, over six feet and wearing dark pants and jacket. I knew it was the same man. I turned to one of the other chaperones and told her about my encounter with him. She turned to look back and said he wasn’t there anymore. I stopped and looked back-she was right. It was a long walk on the sidewalk and at one point I looked up and he was there-again-in front of us!
Then when we turned to head to the White House I saw him again. He was standing under some trees. I pointed him out to my daughter. We watched as he stood in the shade of the trees observing the stream of tourists flocking to the building.
My daughter and I went up to do some more photos and I realized he was standing near our group. He never looked at me and when the other chaperone came up she saw him also. We were getting kind of creeped out. When it was time to leave for the bus we both realized he was gone.
I noticed I had a photos with him in front of the White House behind my daughter to the right.
I don’t know who he was and what his purpose was in being there but it was a strange experience.-N