November 2016

About the Time I Was Detained By The Secret Service…

img_1023On Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Donald Trump weren’t the only guests at the White House. MattsBats.com was there, covering the ceremony by President Obama and Vice President Biden honoring the 2016 NBA Finals Champion Cavaliers. Although my knowledge of basketball is almost as little as Buck Showalter’s knowledge on how to use Zach Britton in a high stakes playoff game, it was still fun to watch the President honor a team for possibly the last time. But in the middle of this, something odd happened- I was sort of detained by the Secret Service.
Those five words put together might imply that I tried to hurt the President or Vice President. Nope. Here’s what happened.
It was a very busy day at the White House. President-Elect Donald Trump, Vice President-Election Mike Pence, and Future First Lady Melania Trump were visiting. There were A LOT of members of the press on site. It was pretty chaotic.

We had just finished setting up for the Cavaliers event. A White House staffer called for the media to leave the South Lawn and go back to the press briefing room and I followed the group back into the White House. As I walked back into the White House, a Secret Service officer with a rifle was watching the press walking by. He noticed that I didn’t have a press pass around my neck (when I checked in earlier I didn’t receive any credentials). The secret service officer yelled out to me “HEY WHERE’S YOUR PRESS PASS?” and he called me over. I (nervously) tried to explain how the security officer at the gate didn’t give me a pass and that my chaperone was still setting up equipment on the lawn. He didn’t buy my story and he escorted me to another area of the room.
I stood in the hallway of the White House, nervously trying to figure out how I was going to get out of this situation without getting in major trouble. I wanted to text my chaperone to get help but I was scared to make any sudden moves. It was the scariest moment of my entire life.
As I waited for more information, somebody famous walked out of another doorway and stood in the hallway next to us. I didn’t know who it was, but I could tell he was important because he was wearing a suit (with an American flag pin on his lapel) and he was followed by an entourage. I later figured out it was Ohio Governor and former Republican Presidential candidate John Kasich, who was also there for the Cleveland Cavs ceremony.

But there I was, in the hallway of the White House, trying to get back to the Cavs ceremony. After a few minutes another White House staffer saw me standing there, with a nervous expression on my face. Thankfully, this guy, a member of the White House Press Office, recognized me and vouched for me that I was supposed to be there. I was soon released and reunited with my friend.
The funny part is that this whole incident only lasted 5–10 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime.
So one day in the future when I’m talking to my grandchildren about what I did in my childhood, I can tell them that I was once detained by a Secret Service agent. Fun day!