From Left to right pictured are Rod Risley (Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa), Xavier Helgesen (one of the co-founders of Better World Books), Al Gore (former Vice President of the United States), Aaron King (Director of the Campus Division for Better World Books, and the guy writing this post), and David Murphy (CEO of Better World Books).
Now I know because I am standing behind Mr. Gore, I look like I was photoshopped into this photo.. but trust me, I was there, it is just a trick of the light. If this were a court of law, I would say “look, you can see the shadow from his shoulder on my suit jacket, I really was there!”
So, I would love to say that Al Gore, while contemplating his next initiative to help the environment, heard the news that Better World Books and Phi Theta Kappa were teaming up to run book drives on college campuses around the country, keeping books out of landfills, providing funding for Phi Theta Kappa chapters, and most importantly, raising money for literacy programs.
When Al Gore heard of this wonderful partnership, he immediately arranged a meeting with us to encourage us in our good work, and then took a photo with us.
Unfortunately, the above tale would be a fabrication; yes, we do have a great partnership with Phi Theta Kappa, and yes we have saved millions of books from landfills, and raised a lot of money for Phi Theta Kappa and literacy too.. but Al Gore did not set up any meeting with us.
Mr. Gore was gracious enough to be one of the speakers at the Phi Theta Kappa conference in Nashville in April 2007, and there was a Photo Session Scheduled where a select group of conference attendees got to stand in line and cycle through for a Photo Op with Mr. Gore. We had about 15 seconds to say hi and tell him about our program, but lets be honest, Mr. Gore met thousands of people that day… so lets just say I am not expecting any invites to his house for coffee anytime soon.
While we were waiting for our 15 seconds with Mr. Gore, we a got a chance to meet Kevin Sharp, country music star, cancer survivor, and inspirational speaker, another one of the presenters at the conference. He had hosted his own photo op the previous day, and now got to experience the other side, waiting in line just behind us for the chance to meet Al Gore.
So let me close by saying: Mr. Gore, it was very nice to meet you, I won’t be offended if you don’t remember me, and thanks again for inventing the internet, allowing me to post articles like this.
I hope that Better World Books can continue to work with Phi Theta Kappa and all of our amazing partners to someday save enough books from landfills and raise enough money for literacy that Mr. Gore features us as a great way to help improve the world in whatever his next project is.