Who would have imagined the names Bill Clinton and Bon Jovi in the same headline? Truth, indeed, is often stranger than fiction. This is the story of a rock group who came to the rescue an ex-president who found himself stranded in the midst of his annual trip to Africa.
I’m not sure how Bill usually travels when he embarks on his African tour, but this time he was being ferried on a Boeing 767 jetliner that just happens to be owned by executives at Google. The 767, is an aircraft that normally accommodates about 180 passengers — although these days, the airlines are probably packing 200 people into them, but that’s another story.
The 767 that the boys from Google purchased during 2005 is no typical passenger liner, however. Among other amenities it features sitting area, two staterooms with adjoining rest rooms and a shower. There is also a spacious sitting-and-dining area. At the rear there are a dozen or so first-class seats for guests or Google employees and a large galley. The jet is said to be capable of carrying 50 passengers.
As one might expect under circumstances like this, the media has enough interest in Clinton’s African adventures to send along a delegation of journalists — a few of them probably hoping to stumble onto something more interesting than lions and elephants. This is Bill Clinton we’re talking about — use your imagination.
While Clinton and his delegation (including daughter Chelsea) flew on the pushily-appointed GoogleJet, the press had to make due with a chartered 727, which probably does not have a stateroom or a dining area, and seemed to have more than it’s share of problems keeping up with the GoogleJet carrying Mr. Clinton. In fact, due to a number of problems including a broken air conditioner, a broken cockpit window and faulty fuel valve, the 727 never managed to leave the airport at Newark, New Jersey.
Although it is not known how Bon Jovi got word of this predicament, a Boeing 707 owned by the group was dispatched to Newark from the Bahamas in order to ferry the stranded journalists to Africa. Not being particularly shy about his political leanings, frontman Jon Bon Jovi has made no secret of his status as a die-hard Democrat in the past and may have felt duty-bound to ensure that Clinton’s work in Africa went unreported.
After meeting up with the former President in Ethiopia, both the 707 carrying the journalists and the GoogleJet were bound for Rwanda. That was their intention, but once again the gremlins were playing havoc with aircraft again that day.
After leaving the ground in Ethiopia, the press plane was ordered back to the airport to rescue Clinton after the GoogleJet had to abort its take-off due to engine problems, and had to remain on the ground for repairs.
One can only imagine the disappointment the former President experienced when faced with the prospect of flying on an old 707 packed full of reporters. After all, eight years of traveling on a tricked-out 747 known as "Air Force One," and then flying to Africa on the GoogleJet just might spoil anyone.