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Posted 2020-02-25T23:20:00Z

Ben and Biden

Last Sunday, a week before the Nevada Caucus, Ben was invited to visit with Vice President Joe Biden following a fundraising event here in Reno. Two friends, Allison Gorelick and Abbi Whitaker, learned of his earnest interest in the American political process and in doing cool things and in meeting interesting people, so generously arranged the meeting.  Thank you, Abbi and Allison! 
The meeting of the minds, at the tail end of both of their days, turned into forty-five minutes of heart-felt conversation crisscrossing topics like family, grandkids, friendship, sports and pets.  They touched on the political landscape.  Luke and I waited anxiously by my phone for Matt’s reflection on their time.  Matt described the interaction as, “Legit, sincere, [and] authentic.  Biden dialed right into Ben like he was his own grandson.  It was impressive.  Biden was not afraid to connect with Ben.” 
People who connect with or “see” Ben aren’t uncommon, but they are unique. They abandon their own agenda and ideas of what to do with Ben and simply follow his lead.  They take Ben at his word and let him drive the conversation.  They lean into Ben, literally because Ben is difficult to understand and when he’s misunderstood, he gets frustrated.  Ben appreciates authentic answers to big questions and avoids small talk and patronizing conversation. Ben loathes being treated like a little kid or a baby. He is a kidult.   Like all of us, Ben wants to be heard because he has a lot to say and, because he has so much friggin’ dignity, demands it.  People who engage with Ben get to hang with Ben.
Vice President Biden exceeded our expectations and unknowingly joined the collective of other great Americans who’ve shown Ben the same kindness, generosity, interest and love.  I’m positive it is a group he would be proud to identify with.  People from the early days of Ben’s diagnosis like Morgan, Emily, Homze, Ronan and JP who spent time with him weekly.  Friends like Silverback, Myles, Joey, Joseph and Jenna who’ve become his best mates.  Families like the Walkers and the Pavilacks who've driven long distances multiple times to fill Ben’s bucket for entire weeks!  Encounters along the way with Francisco in Costa Rica, Tim in Bishop, James at IFly, Gary and Becky on I-80 during a highway closure and the myriad people who understand without flinching that Spike is a Bobcat, not a Cockapoo.
Vice President Biden, no matter where we place ourselves on the political spectrum, is a man and leader who genuinely cares.  He’s devoted his career to seeking the common good for the American people.  He is a man who has suffered the loss of his first wife, young daughter, and an adult son.  He was a single dad.  He gets it.  I’m sure it is these difficult moments and his perseverance through them that have equipped Vice President Biden to sit with people like Ben and to be unrushed, sincere and tapped into the needs of another precious life.  In the midst of a pace and schedule that I cannot even begin to fathom, Joe Biden blessed Ben with another life enhancing experience.  I’m sure the Vice President was blessed too.  Thank you, Joe.  

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Comments (25)

  • Lori Thomas
    Lori Thomas

    WOW!!!!!! SO COOL. And we can all learn a lesson from this about leaning in to people.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Melissa Soltero
    Melissa Soltero

    Wow. Incredible. Ben truly is an old soul and I’m thrilled to hear he’s being met with honest intentions. Love you guys.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Elizabeth Morrow
    Elizabeth Morrow

    That really is a great experience. I'm positive VP Joe Biden was indeed blessed. I agree, a great lesson about leaning in to connect with people. A wonderful example. Thank you for sharing this.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Autumn Schneider
    Autumn Schneider

    Love this so much❤

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Kelly Zoldak
    Kelly Zoldak

    Amazing experience for both of them I’m sure. Thank you for sharing with us. 💕

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Jovan

    That is so awesome!! What a truly amazing experience for him to have, thanks for sharing.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Dalia Pena
    Dalia Pena

    This is amazing!!! And the best thing I've read all week <3

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Beth Dukleth
    Beth Dukleth

    Beautiful 💙

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Martine

    I love how Ben knows no intimidation whatsoever. How liberating. Thank you for sharing this beautiful testimony of more love in our world❤️

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Jennifer Cannizzaro
    Jennifer Cannizzaro

    Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing and helping others understand more. You are an AMAZING family.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Mario Fitzpatrick
    Mario Fitzpatrick

    I love this! Great message about how our civic leaders can do great things for things that have nothing to do with politics and everyhting to do with humanity.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Aaron Silverman
    Aaron Silverman

    Did Ben let him in the BMC? That’s awesome. So happy Ben got to have that conversation and experience.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Krista Jensen
    Krista Jensen

    So happy to hear that Ben got to experience this meeting with V.P. Joe Biden! Mr.Biden is a truly compassionate man. And I'm sure that Ben's " On Fire" soul blessed Joe! Just as it does everyone Ben touches! Blessings and prayers for Ben and entire family. May God bless you and hold you in His hands. Amen. Love, Krista Jensen

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Cathy Nobles
    Cathy Nobles

    Ben, I would love to be able to drop by and hear you tell me your thoughts on your meeting with the VP Biden. I can just imagine the lively discussion between the two of you. Take care of you and lots of love to you, Praying for you, Cathy

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Alicia Kingsley
    Alicia Kingsley

    So amazing! Loved reading this. I hope to meet Ben!

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Kristy Pearson
    Kristy Pearson

    What a wonderful experience for both of them! Thank you for sharing Katie! We are all so blessed to read your stories. Ben is an inspiration to all who know him, love him and follow him. 💕

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Melissa Martinez
    Melissa Martinez

    Thank you all so much for sharing. Love.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Alissa Surges
    Alissa Surges

    What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it!

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Susan Wilkinson
    Susan Wilkinson

    What an amazing experience, not only for Ben but also for Vice-president Biden.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Auntie Lainie Bush Barnhart
    Auntie Lainie Bush Barnhart

    45 minutes out of a day is a long time for someone who is crushed for time. I am sure the delay was understood by whomever or whatever was next up. Thank you Vice President Biden for giving that time. I hope it returns to you as it was given. Thank you to Allison Gorelick and Abbi Whitaker for setting this meeting in motion. Bless you for knowing Benjamin so well & making what may have seemed like a huge hurdle just a bump in the road. Excuse me, Spike is a Bobcat. Can't you tell? Much love to you four Andersons as well. Auntie Lainie

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Meghan Wolf
    Meghan Wolf

    It’s so uplifting to read this story, seeing the love that exists within a community, feeling the compassion from strangers who become friends, and learning more about Ben’s fire and spirit. It’s true beauty in what sometimes feels like a crazy world.

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Brynda Searing
    Brynda Searing

    I love it! Ben is such an amazing young man! ❤️

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Maija West
    Maija West

    How amazing! Ben, you are a role model for all of us. ✨

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Flora Solari
    Flora Solari

    So thankful for the experiences that bless Ben. Also thankful for Katie and Matt who are committed to sharing Ben's experiences with those whose hearts are connected with the Anderson family. Katie and Matt, may God continue to bless you with His strength and courage as you never cease to go beyond the imaginable for Ben. Sending love to all of you. Flora

    2 years ago · Reply
  • Pam Head
    Pam Head

    I was blessed to read the post regarding the interaction between Ben and Joe Biden. Joe was so fortunate to have that experience with Ben,and visa versa! It says a lot about Joe to take the time to spend one on one with Ben, and confirmed some of the things that have impressed me about Joe and his sincerity. You go, Ben. You are right up there with lots of famous Americans. I hope you continue to get the opportunity to meet great people.

    2 years ago · Reply