George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, were known for being considerate and respectful of the Secret Service agents assigned to protect him during his presidency. Their thoughtfulness often went beyond that exhibited by members of certain other administrations and prompted Bush to make a particular decision about how he would spend his Christmas Eve.
Instead of heading home to Texas on Christmas Eve, ensuring he would be there for the holiday, Bush remained in Washington DC. His reason for staying, according to a report by the Daily Mail, is it allowed the Secret Service agents assigned to protect him to stay near home during the holidays, giving them an opportunity to spend Christmas with their families.
Bush and his wife wouldn’t fly to Texas until the day after Christmas.
“Bush is a great man, just an all-around nice person,” said one of the agents assigned to Bush prior to his passing. “Both he and Mrs. Bush are very thoughtful, and they think outside their own little world. They think of other people.”
Agent William Albracht, who was once assigned to a midnight shift at the vice president’s residence, even had a unique encounter with Bush.
Stewards would bake cookies each day and would hide them from the agents, and the Secret Service members were tasked with finding them, allowing them to have a late night snack.
During a trip to the kitchen, Albracht was looking through the refrigerator for something to eat.
“I’m hoping that there are some leftover snacks from that day’s reception,” said Albracht. “It was slim pickin’s.”
“All of a sudden, there’s a voice over my shoulder.”
“Hey, anything good in there to eat?” the man asked, according to Albracht.
“No, looks like they cleaned it out,” Albracht said he replied. Then he turned around “to see George Bush off my right shoulder.”
“After I get over the shock of who it was, Bush says, ‘Hey, I was really hoping there would be something to eat.’ And I said, ‘Well, sir, every day the stewards bake cookies, but every night they hide them from us.’
“With a wink of his eye, he says, ‘Let’s find ’em.’ So, we tore the kitchen apart, and sure enough, we did find them. He took a stack of chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk and went back up to bed, and I took a stack and a glass of milk and went back to the basement post.”
Bush’s attitude toward his Secret Service detail was markedly different from some other administrations.
“I was on the detail one Christmas when [Al] Gore was at his home in Carthage,” said former agent Jeff Crane. “Neighbors offered us food on Christmas Day, but the Gores never even bothered to say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Thank you.’”