2/22/23, Jimmy Carter, Extraordinary Man

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well, and that all is fine in your world. I was very touched by the mention of Jimmy Carter going into hospice care at the age of 98. It will be a sad loss for us, of an amazing human being when he is gone. And I hope he is having peaceful, comfortable days now. Reading about him, he is really one of the unsung heroes, and perhaps less appreciated presidents of our times. I was reminded of the one time I was privileged to meet him and Mrs. Carter, who was also a lovely person when we met.

Growing up and schooled in France, with European parents, then married in France, I’ve never had much interest in or knowledge of American politics. All I knew about Jimmy Carter was that he had been a peanut farmer, which didn’t sound too exciting. My knowledge of American presidents other than Abraham Lincoln and JFK has always been limited. Years after Carter was president, after my son Nick died and I wrote the book about him, His Bright Light, I won a string of awards for my hands on work with the mentally ill, and then the homeless, and out of the blue, I got a personal call from Jimmy Carter, who asked if he could come to San Francisco and meet with me and have dinner. I was famous by then, but no President had ever called me to have dinner. I was flattered and curious and said yes, with no idea what his politics had been.

The Secret Service took my house apart, rode up and down in my elevator for hours, checking that there was no bomb in it, vetted my staff. Jimmy Carter flew to SF as promised and came to dinner with me at home. I was expecting “the peanut farmer”. Instead, I was stunned, he was absolutely brilliant, did extensive good works for the mentally ill, was rebuilding several villages in Africa, supplying food, water, medicine, rebuilding large parts of Africa to supply water and food, doing research on extensive subjects at his foundation, and he just wanted to talk to me and find out first hand what I’d learned about mental illness and homelessness. I was blind sided. I’ve rarely met anyone as kind, caring, compassionate, and incredibly smart. Really, really smart. He must have been a more remarkable president than most people knew, and certainly a better human being than most. I was stunned that he flew out to have dinner with me, and he was so unbelievably smart and knowledgeable, and interested in the world, determined to use his fortune to help others and make the world a better place. He must have been in his 70’s then, full of energy. I never saw him again, but he was definitely one of the great surprises in my life, and truly admirable people.

With him in the news today, I read several quotes by him, and I came across one that really stopped me, and reminded me of what a great human being he was when I met him.

“I have one life and one chance to make it count for something. My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I can, whenever I can, for as long as I can”/ Jimmy Carter.

What an incredible motto to live by, and he has. Whenever he goes, he will have fulfilled his dream, and the dreams of many many people to make the world a better, safer, healthier, kinder place. Whatever his politics, he certainly lived his life well, for others. However long or short our time, how amazing if we could live by that, if we could dedicate our life to others with that kind of certainty, and make life better for others. And what a shame there haven’t been more presidents and people like him, to inspire people, to show us all his shining example of helping others in a sincere, humble way. Anyway, I loved the quote and wanted to share it with you. And he was lovely with my children and all my employees when he came to dinner. He spoke to each of them, no one was too young, too old, too small for him to spend a moment with them and make them feel special. What a wonderful, wonderful, extraordinary man he is. I am truly honored to have met him even once.

Have a great week, love, Danielle

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9 Comments so far
  1. Elaine February 22, 2023 1:06 pm

    Hi Danielle,

    A wonderful quote and a lovely tribute! Thank you for sharing your memories of President Carter.

    Love, Elaine

  2. Mary February 22, 2023 8:23 pm

    What a special meeting for you. He is a blessing for humankind. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Gary R. Collier February 23, 2023 7:41 am

    I helped build a Habit for Humanity House years ago. I was pleased
    at how many people were there to help as well.
    Working for 2 days on that house ( there was about a weeks work before
    we got there ) taught me how better it is
    when many people work together to build a house that usually takes
    weeks or a month + to build . I enjoy watching videos of the Amish,
    they really know how to build a House and a Barn . They usually build it
    in one day .
    We would not have the nearly 500,000 homeless we have
    here in the U.S. if more people would come together like them.
    Gary R. Collier

  4. rita sadiq March 7, 2023 7:34 am

    Hello Danielle,

    I always love to read your work. You are such an amazing author. God give President Carter a smooth sail home. Your memory of him is awesome. Can I have a private audience with you please?

    Rita Sadiq

  5. Gena March 12, 2023 7:30 am

    Thank you, Danielle! I love that you shared this about President Carter! I feel the same as you shared, he was such a selfless & caring person who gave freely of himself to help in whatever way he could. We all should live by his example. 😊💕

  6. Bobbie March 12, 2023 8:40 am

    Thank you for sharing. I love all you have written
    Bobbie Wilkins

  7. Eileen March 12, 2023 5:29 pm

    Hi Danielle! First let me say I love your books!
    President Carter is a genuinely great person. If you’re ever in the USA, visit Atlanta, Ga for the Jimmy Carter Center. He is an example of true ❤️ Love for humankind.

  8. Yvonne April 13, 2023 5:07 pm

    President Jimmy Carter was quite a blessing for the entire world. I pray we get back to wonderful leaders like him & Ronald Reagan. Thank you for sharing your memories with us. God please bless the entire world!

  9. Sharon April 17, 2023 3:45 am

    Hi, I stumbled across your post on Facebook which led me here interested in hearing what you wrote about President Jimmy Carter. I found it so interesting that he flew to your home to have dinner with you to speak to you about mental illness and the rest. It proves to me what an astounding and caring man he is. People haven’t really given him the respect that he deserves. Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful organization that has helped thousands to put a roof over their head and given them a home, which was brought to light by President Carter to name a few. He’s a wonderful man in my book and well loved 🥰 by me and many others. Thanks for writing about him so respectfully.