A Bill Gates Story

Travis commented on the earlier post that Bill Gates would not have had to wait in line at the Eiffel Tower, which is true enough. But there was a time when not even Bill could escape the same treatment meted out to mere mortals.

I used to work at Microsoft, for 14 years in fact. I was not present at the evening I'm about to describe, but I know some of the people who were there and I'm sure this is true...

Once when Bill Gates was visiting Sydney years ago, a group went out to dinner, including Bill. This was in the days before the famous pie-in-the-face episode in Belgium, after which the security guards appeared and he became much more cautious, and reasonably so. Before the pie, it was perfectly normal for Bill to wander about with the staff.

At some point in the evening the group decided to go to Bondi RSL. (RSL stands for Returned Services League, which is a veteran's association that operates many clubs which are effectively community centers.) I have no idea what they were thinking - an RSL club is not exactly the place you expect to find a group of ultra-geeks - but that's what they did.

So this bunch, including BillG, walk into the local RSL.

Now it's a rule of all RSL clubs that you have to be properly dressed to get into the bar, out of respect for those who've died defending the country. "Properly" means trousers (not shorts), a shirt or polo shirt, and shoes (not loose sandals). So far so good, but the final, immutable, non-negotiable rule is that men must wear a tie.

Bill is not wearing a tie, as usual.

The man at the desk refuses to let them in.

An argument ensues, probably with the Australians in the group embarrassed that their guest Bill Gates is about to become the first billionaire ever to be thrown out of an RSL. At some point someone points to Bill and says, "You do know who he is, don't you?" The nice man says (correctly) it doesn't matter who he is, he's not getting in without a tie.

This problem happens frequently at such clubs, and they have a simple solution. The man pulls out a used tie - they keep a few behind the desk - and hands it to Bill. Bill puts it on. If it was like the pre-loved ties I've seen it would have been a grotty, unwashed piece of material, but that doesn't matter because he's wearing a tie. So in they walk.

Which just goes to prove sometimes even the wealthiest man on the planet gets treated like the rest of we mortals.

1 comment:

Travis Erwin said...

Good. Everyone one needs to me rejected in some form or another now again.

As a writer I'm on rejection overdose.