I come from Latin America and we are usually [a] very warm, lively kind of people, and to me COB has always been like that. He’s full of life and he’s interested and he wants to know everything about anyone who is in his presence. Pilar Saldarriaga
I met COB in 1984. And what’s very memorable about that time is that I was very new as a staff member and when he saw me, he went to me and he said, “Wow, who are you? I don’t know you. What’s your name?” He asked me about where I’m from, and like, he really wanted to know who I was.
That really impressed me because he was so caring and really interested. That to me was really impressive. And also because I come from Latin America and we are usually [a] very warm, lively kind of people, and to me COB has always been like that. He’s full of life and he’s interested and he wants to know everything about anyone who is in his presence.
He works from first thing in the morning till late at night. He has tons of traffic to handle. But if he sees you, he’ll stop that and he will see you and he will, you know, chat with you and go over different things, “How’s it going?” and really wants to know what’s happening, what’s happening in your life. And then, you know, he tells you, “Hey, did you hear about” this or that. Like, you’re really included like you are an important part of his world.
When I got married a few years ago, he knew I was getting married and somehow he got a photo of my husband and I, and he sent me this beautiful antique pendant, the ones that—it’s like a little locket that opens and in one side you had a little photo. And he made sure that photo was taken. He got it. He got it into the locket and he sent it to me, as a present. And to me, that was so special, that he went through all that work just to make it special for me because he knew it was special for me.
We were recently in Bogotá in Colombia, opening that Ideal Org. And I had the privilege to attend. And during that time we had this gentleman who was driving us around. And you know, when COB first met him he said, “Hello,” and, you know, every day he would see him and ask him, “How’s it going?” And at the end of the visit, after we left COB at the airport, he turned around to me and he goes, “You know, that gentleman is a very special person. What he said today at that event was very inspiring. And I am sure that what he brought to Colombia is going to change this country.”