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Politics // Coffee Break
Jerry Coffee

Romney Goes All Out To Help A Friend

One July day in 1996, the Bain Capital mission of buying distressed businesses, fixing the problems and then selling them at a profit to Bain and its investors came to a screeching halt. A distraught senior parter in the firm, Robert Gay, came to Mitt Romney, the president, with a heartrending story. Two nights earlier, Gay’s 14-year-old daughter, Melissa, had taken the train from their home in Connecticut to join some friends at a party in Manhattan (turned out to be a rave party) and still hadn’t come home for almost two days now. Gay and his wife had called all her friends but still had no idea where she was. Could Mitt help them find her?

Mitt Romney speaks in Lakeland, Fla., Aug 31. AP Photo.

Romney instantly suspended all normal operations of the firm and devoted all resources to the search for “Missy” Gay. He set up command posts at La Guardia’s Marriott hotel and two locations in Manhattan. He established continuing liaison with the NYPD. He set up a dedicated 800 number, com missioned a Bain-owned printing company to crank out 200,000 fliers and other Bain retail companies to stuff the fliers, which hadn’t been posted around the city, into the bags of purchasers. Newspapers picked up on the buzz and ran a picture of Missy.

He brought together all

30 Bain partners and employees, many down from the Bain headquarters in Boston. He mined his personal Rolladex, and soon lawyers, accountants and bankers from major N.Y. brokerages and banks were in the physical search. They covered the nightclubs known to cater to the teen crowd, parks that attracted spontaneous teen gatherings and the more seedy neighborhoods where homeless were plentiful.

Although they didn’t find Melissa, they learned she had last been seen partying in a park beneath the Whitestone Bridge in Brooklyn. Nearly a week passed when a teenage-sounding boy called from New Jersey and asked if there was a reward for information on the missing girl. He hung up abruptly, but not before his call was traced by the police. When confronted, the boy pinpointed a neighbor’s house where he had seen unusual activity.

The police followed the lead and found Missy in the basement of the house, cold, and still very ill from an overdose of the drug Ecstacy. The 17-year-old neighbor boy had met her at the party, given her several hits of the drug (common at rave parties) and brought her home, unbeknownst even to his parents. She was returned to her tearfully grateful parents, no charges were filed and – as might be expected – her affluent teenage friends ridiculed the “overreaction” by her parents and the other adults involved (like the Bain employees), and asserted Missy was never in danger and was about to call her parents to pick her up anyway. Of course, some media actually spun it that way.

At the end of 1996, in choosing the highlight of the year, the Bain employees unanimously chose the recovery of Missy Gay. Robert Gay credited Mitt Romney for saving his daughter’s life: “It was the most amazing thing, and I’ll never forget this to the day I die.”

Internet fact checker Snopes.com gives the story an emphatic “true,” adding, “Mitt Romney simply can’t help himself. He sees a problem and his mind immediately sets to work solving it, sometimes consciously, sometimes not- so-consciously. He doesn’t do it for self aggrandizement or personal gain. He does it because that’s just the way he’s wired.”

That’s the guy who needs to be our president right now!

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