In 1979, a 21 year old Vietnamese girl arrived at the airport in Paris, one of a large number of refugees arriving from Vietnam during that time.
Many of the other refugees who had been on the same plane were being directed to shelters, where they would spend the night.
Talking about this years later, Anh Dao, the Vietnamese girl, said in her own words: "I did not speak a word of French and I was crying in a corner."
After the other refugees had been processed, a man noticed Anh Dao and came up to her, and asked her if she had a place to stay. She didn't. The man went to call his wife, and asked her (his wife) if she could come meet him at the airport.
Then he said to Anh Dao: "Don't cry my dear. You are coming home with us."
Anh Dao explained: “Later I saw Bernadette, who took me in her arms and started crying. I understood that I had found a foster family."
The man in this story was Jacques Chirac, who was the mayor of Paris at the time.
Anh Dao stayed with the Chiracs for two years, while she learned French and became used to living in Paris. Eventually, she moved out and found a job, and got married and had children.
Chirac, of course, had a highly troubled political career as president of France, including corruption charges. He was a deeply flawed figure, but also had a deep humanity that I think comes out in this story about Anh Dao, his foster daughter.
Chirac passed away earlier this week at the age of 86.
Oh wow. With all of this impeachment stuff from the States, and all the Trudeau stuff up here, I hadn't even seen it reported that he'd died. Good story and a good reminder of the deeper complexity of people that we often don't realize while focused on the superficial.