It's not unusual for mayors and other elected officials to receive bad press when they are traveling for business or even just vacation. Think first-class airline tickets, luxury hotels and five-star meals. Think big and unnecessary entourage traveling on the taxpayer's dime.
That said, Nutter seemed to have quite the opposite experience during his recent trip to Oklahoma, where he was attending a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting. (Read more about that here.) He returned today after horrific weather delayed and derailed his schedule.
Here's an email Heard in the Hall received a few hours ago from a New York woman who said she doesn't know Nutter and hasn't met him, but traveled with him and wanted to share her thoughts on Philadelphia's mayor.
"I was a recent business attendee to the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting held this past weekend in Oklahoma City.
"Many of us, including Mayor Nutter, attempted to fly home yesterday, but were held up by bad weather. I happened to be on the same flight as the Mayor and several of his staff/security. . . and, in short, it was one of those hellish travel days – where we were stuck on a runway for hours, (being told differing accounts of what was wrong every 10 minutes. .) At the end of the day, we all missed our connections and had to stay overnight in Memphis. While in Memphis, it was another horrific situation, with everyone complaining, trying to change flights, trying to get their bags off the plane, trying to get a hotel, etc.
"I am not from Philadelphia (I am from New York) – but it was so notable just how cool, gracious and modest Mayor Nutter and his entourage were. Not once did they ever try and "pull rank" – always waiting patiently in-line behind everyone else. . . . never raising their voices, never asking for favors. . . just acting like everyone else, but classier. Not even his staffers tried to pull the "do you know who this is?" routine. They all just waited patiently in line with the rest of us seething passengers.
"While I and other business colleagues, were so fed up that we chose to not wait for the "free shuttle" to the hotel, choosing instead to take a $25 cab ride. . . we were shocked to see Mayor Nutter and his entourage walking towards the shuttle stop and waiting patiently with all of the others (including the screaming babies. . )
"But the real kicker was when we got to the hotel and tried to cash in our $12 meal vouchers. . . . the restaurant had an open dining room, and a bar area. The dining room closed at 10. And food was only available at the bar until 11. Mayor Nutter and his folks finally had checked in and were just trying to grab a bite to eat just after 10 pm, but they refused to seat him in the empty restaurant, and instead insisted that they wait until spaces opened up in the bar (which was completely full and overwhelmed by the sudden influx of passengers/guests) . . . Again, Mayor Nutter and his people just quietly waited for any seats to open up at the bar.
"My colleague went to the hotel manager and tried to explain the situation, and suggested it made sense to make more of the empty dining room tables available for waiting guests, given the unique and unusual circumstances. . . . but the hotel wouldn't do it.. . (in the end, I believe some people left the bar, and Mayor Nutter and his staff were able to eat. . . and I believe they only ordered within the $12/limit of the vouchers!)
"Anyway, this was just to say that I was blown away by how gracious and patient and so "un-entitled" the Mayor of your great city was. It just made me think that there is possibly hope again in our governments. . . . and that there really are good people, trying to do good things. . . and in good ways."