Imagine giving a speech to a 1,000 people, while you are blind AND deaf.
In 2007, the Media Research Center invited Rush Limbaugh to Washington, D.C. to accept the first ever William F. Buckley Excellence in Journalism Award. MRC wanted Rush's acceptance to be a surprise to the in-person audience, and I was tapped to handle the logistical arrangements of getting him through the bowels of the Omni Shoreham Hotel, undetected, to the green room behind the stage.
I worked on the plan with Rush's handler, who Rush affectionately referred to as, "Stalin." Stalin and I had the route mapped out to a tee. We carefully selected which back entrance we would use. We knew which freight elevators we would use to stay out of sight of the lobby to get us from the back entrance, up to the suite where Rush could freshen up, and back down again to the back of the ballroom.
Rush was flying up from Florida after his show that day, so it was agreed that rather attending the whole event, Rush would be the surprise closer.
In 2007, Rush was just coming back from his bout with pain-killer addiction. We were pretty sure this event at MRC was his first public appearance since his comeback. It was a big deal.
Stalin and I even had this new fangled invention called a cell phone -- then commonly referred to as a "flip-phone" -- to keep in touch in case anything went sideways. "Stalin" was going to call me while I was downstairs in the ballroom attending the event. Once I got the call, I was going to the rear of the hotel to execute the plan. I was confident. No one suspected a thing.