In 23 years of operating U.S. Patent Services, we have served a lot of customers. Sometimes certain customers stand out in some unusual way. This is one of my favorite stories about a certain customer.
It was back 1994. Col. Oliver North was in a very heated senate race in Virginia. At the time, it was the most expensive senate race in history. Well, we were doing our weekly mailing to new patent recipients which back then was done manually through the weekly patent gazette. One of our employees saw that Oliver North had been granted a patent on a new type of body armor. So, just for the heck of it, we sent him a patent plaque, thinking nothing much more about it.
Well, to my great surprise, about three weeks later, we received a phone call. It was him. My office manager just about fell off her chair when she took the call from him asking for me.
So, I took the phone call immediately with the very clever remark “Col. North? Is it really you?”
His response was “well, that’s what my mother calls me”. He then went on to profusely thank me for the “beautiful patent wall plaque” and proceeded to order over $600 worth of patent commemoratives for his partners and employees, remarking on how appreciative he was of them all.
It was true graciousness while in the midst of a massive campaign for the US senate. And if that was not enough, I received a very thoughtful and personalized Christmas card from him and his family shortly afterward.