At the height of the financial crisis, a mother travelling with her 10-month-old son was bumped up to first class for a strange encounter with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
It was January 2009, and the financial crisis was in full swing. Bernanke had a huge stack of work with him and impossibly difficult decisions to make. I, on the other hand, had a bag with 25 diapers, teething toys and a soft, cloth book with sailboats and anchors sewn in it. Oliver, 35 pounds of chubby baby, was drooling, rubbing his fingers over his teething gums. He was standing on my lap, pumping his legs up and down, as if readying to launch himself through the ceiling of the plane. Oliver was just tall enough to pop his big pumpkin head over the seat and smile at Bernanke.
During the long overnight flight from D.C. to Zurich, little Oliver was fascinated with the bearded man behind them:
He never cried. He was just happy, curious, and very awake. And mostly, for some reason that night, Oliver wanted to climb on me so he could see Bernanke. I cringed, trying to pull him down. Oliver jabbered at Bernanke in baby talk. At one point, I think around 2 a.m., I heard Bernanke’s voice reply. He must have said something funny to Oliver, because they both laughed, like old colleagues sharing a joke.
When they landed in Zurich, Sugg apologized for keeping Bernanke up all night. He classily assured her that he hadn’t heard a thing.