COMMENTARY | A little known story about Mitt Romney involving the missing 14-year-old daughter of a business partner is recounted in Buzzfeed. The incident which shows a hitherto unsuspected heroic side of the presidential candidate is illuminating.
It has, naturally, shown up in a campaign commercial.
In 1998 the 14-year-old daughter of one of Romney's partners at Bain Capital, Robin Gay, had disappeared after attending a rave party in New York City. The distraught father was beside himself with terror of what may have happened to his little girl.
Upon hearing of this, Romney stopped all operations at Bain and flew himself and all of the company's employees to New York to conduct the search. Using his contacts with establishments in New York that did business with Bain and an outlay of cash, Romney led a search for the girl from a command post he had set up in the LaGuardia Marriott that involved a private detective, Bain employees and customers putting up posters, handing out flyers, and interviewing prostitutes, drug addicts, and other street people in New York, and coordination with the New York Police.
A break came, after media publicity of the search, when a teenage boy called a tip line asking if there was a reward. He hung up, but not before the police traced the call to a home in New Jersey. The girl was found in the basement of the house undergoing withdraws from a hit of ecstasy.
Romney, through his efforts, had saved the girl's life.
Most corporate CEOs do not do heroic things unless they served in a war during their youth. Most people in Romney's position would not have dropped everything and exerted every effort to help a business partner and a friend.
There are a number of takeaways from this story. One is that it goes against the image that Romney's enemies paint of him as a cold, unfeeling automaton. On the other hand it speaks to a relentless zeal to bring every analytical ability and resource to bear to solve a problem.
Romney rescuing a young girl may not be the same as leading an army in war, like Washington, Andrew Jackson, Grant, or Eisenhower, or charging up San Juan Hill, like Teddy Roosevelt, or commanding PT 109, like JFK. But it will do nicely as another reason to make Romney president. He is not a colorful, charismatic hero but he is one nevertheless.