After the meeting about the Gold Vail, I went back to my cubicle to return other phone calls from reporters. The local AT&T PR people were taking calls and sending over messages every hour or so. The drop zone was also calling my answering machine every hour or so and leaving the messages about requests for interviews. I really thank both of those groups for not giving out my home phone number or address. The media zoo was bad enough as it was.
One of the calls I got that afternoon was from a TV show called “A Current Affair.” They wanted to do a segment for their show on the rescue and wanted to know if it could be recreated on video. I gave them the name of a aerial cinematographer to contact and told them I could probably work with them the week after I got back from New York. This would be the first of four times that we recreated the rescue over the years.
On Thursday, April 30, 1987, an article came out in the Phoenix Gazette explaining how the story about the rescue had come to their attention. That was interesting to me since I had no idea who had talked to them about it.
The following Tuesday, I said goodbye to my dog, packed my only suit, and headed to the airport for New York. The company flew me first class there and back. A limo picked us up at the airport and took us to the Hilton in downtown Manhattan. That night, we ate in some really good restaurant that I don’t remember the name of but the waiters all wore tuxedos.
The award ceremony was a big to-do in the Sky Lobby of AT&T’s downtown headquarters’ building. TV cameras lined the rear wall and there were about 40 reporters present. The whole thing lasted about an hour with most of that time being a news conference. After that was over, my manger and the General Manager headed back to Phoenix leaving me in the hands of several VPs of PR. We had a lobster lunch in another really fancy place. All during lunch, people recognized me and came up to shake my hand.
After that, we went to several TV stations for prearranged live TV interviews. That night we had dinner in the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center before we went to see a Broadway show. The next day one of the VP’s picked my up and we went to several more TV live interviews and several other newspaper interviews. In between these, he took me out to all the tourist places including a boat ride out to the Statue of Liberty. That night, I was treated to another first class dinner before seeing another Broadway show. The VP left me after that and had the limo drop me at the hotel. The limo picked me up the next morning to take me to the airport and back to Phoenix I flew.