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  • Sara Tucker

Patrick’s Storyworth Project: The “Famous People” Question

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Korongo co-founder Patrick Texier is testing the memoir-writing platform with the help of his children and grandchildren: They pose the questions, he writes the answers. Today's question:

What famous or important people have you encountered in real life?

By Patrick Texier

One day in 1968, while I was working with the French airline UTA, I was on airport duty to make sure the disembarking of the passengers went smoothly. The first guy to come off the plane was the president of Cameroon. Nobody had told me he was onboard, and no official was there to greet him.

President Ahmadou Ahidjo went straight to me, as I was the only person at the bottom of the stairs, and shook my hand vigorously. Not knowing what to do, I took him to the VIP room. Fortunately, the official greeters soon arrived and took charge of the parcel; they had been delayed by a pileup on the road to the airport.

Ahidjo was my first president. My second one was President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Ivory Coast. In 1984, he called and asked me if I could come to his residence in the capital city of Yamoussoukro. I said of course and asked when and why. “I need a 100-kilowatt generator, and I would like to see you at my residence as soon as possible.”

I had the machine in stock; I just needed some time to type a proposal and get a quote for the shipping to Yamoussoukro. It could be done in half an hour and I told him so. He said he would expect me in a couple of hours.

Hopping in my car a half hour later, I drove to the house. Fortunately, the highway was operational. At the gate a couple of hours later, I was hurried inside, where a butler was waiting for me. He took me to a reception room and asked me if I needed anything. I asked for a glass of water.

A few minutes later, the p