My son, Jeremy, was in a tragic car accident in St. Simons, Georgia, in March of 1996. I was working for Governor Busbee at the time. On March 21, 1996, I received a phone call every parent dreads to get: “Jeremy has been in a car accident. Jason (his best friend and roommate) is gone. Jeremy is unconscious and has multiple injuries.” When I called the hospital in Brunswick and asked if Jeremy would live long enough for my husband and me to make the 6 hour drive, I got the cryptic answer: “we do not know; you need to hurry.” Governor Busbee was in a meeting at King & Spalding at the time and someone gave him word as to what happened. He quickly left the meeting and got me on the telephone at home stating, “Margaret, this is George Busbee. I have a plane lined up at the Gwinnett Airport. I’m on my way; you and your husband just get there.” I had felt as though I was drowning when a lifeline was handed to me through his call.
Upon arriving at the hospital we discovered that Jeremy was in surgery. Governor Busbee totally took charge. He got the names of every doctor involved in his care along with getting us a rent-a-car and a hotel for the duration of our stay. In the waiting room he asked me if I had any cash. I said “yes.” He said, “How much?” I said “twenty dollars.” Well, he quickly put $200 in my lap and would not take no for an answer. Once he found out that Jeremy was going to make it, he planned on heading back to Atlanta. We walked down the hospital halls with him. Many people called out to him and he knew most of them by name and waved to each with something personal to say to each one. He said “I fish with lots of the people here.” He was such a people person. One’s status was not important -- the individual was important to him (case in point: me!)
When I arrived back to work weeks later, I tapped on Governor Busbee’s door. He was at his desk writing and welcomed me in, but continued with his writing. I said, “Governor, you spent a lot of money on us in Brunswick and I would like to pay you back at least a portion of it.” Without looking up and without hesitation the Governor responded, “Margaret, have you ever heard the expression ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’?” I replied, “yes, sir.” He then answered, “Then why would you want to rob me of the blessing of giving to you?”
I have very few heroes in my life, but can say without reservation and ever so proudly, that Governor Busbee is a genuine hero of mine and will be forever. I am eternally grateful to him and consider knowing him one of my life’s greatest blessings.