by Kung Fu Zu 3/20/17
It has been reported that David Rockefeller, the last surviving grandchild of John D. Rockefeller, died today at the age of 101. I never met Mr. Rockefeller, but did run into him in 1989.
Sometime in the Fall of that year, I was visiting Japan on one of my many trips to that country. Having completed my business, I had taken the “Limousine” bus from Tokyo to Narita Airport and was making my way to the Departure area to catch my flight. Since I was flying to Hong Kong, I was required to go through the immigration process in order to leave the country.
Anyone who remembers the old terminal at Narita Airport will recall the less-than-spacious area allocated for processing those departing Japanese shores by air. Not only was the area small, it was also not very well organized, particularly when crowded. On the day I was departing, it was very crowded.
Seeing the huge crowd assembled in the area, I sighed, knowing it would be quite some time before my passport would receive a departure stamp. The immigration area was filled all the way back to the railing which separated it from the rest of the hall.
I shuffled into the throng and waited. In less than a minute I noticed a smallish elderly man in a Macintosh walk into a line near me. I was more than a little surprised to see it was David Rockefeller. We stood, sometimes next to each other, sometimes a little ahead or behind each other depending upon how quickly our lines moved. In the end, my line moved a bit more quickly than his and I left him behind.
Anyone who has travelled Asia, will understand that VIPs did not, in the 1980’s, go through the same down-and-dirty travel routine that the rest of us plebs had to endure. A vivid example of this phenomenon had been on display to me a few days before when entering Japan. I had seen how a pretty young lady had taken the Chairman of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and led him past everyone else waiting in line to gain entry into Japan. While the rest of us stood behind the “Alien” counter, a small gate was unlocked and he went through it. Of course, it was re-locked once this was done. As I recall, the Chairman’s name was Bill Purdy; a tall stately looking Scot who had no problem taking advantage of his position.
Therefore, the reader should not be surprised that I was amazed that a billionaire, hugely influential financier and head of one of the most powerful families in America would stand quietly in line with the rest of us. Such behavior is not common. The man must have had some good impulses.
On a side note, while waiting in line I had wondered why Mr. Rockefeller had visited Japan. I got my answer shortly thereafter. It came out that the Rockefeller family trust had sold a majority share of the Rockefeller Center to the Mitsubishi Group in Japan, and Mr. Rockefeller had been in Tokyo tying up the deal.
Kung Fu Zu is a conservative prognosticator who has traveled widely and lived outside the United States. He also likes Oysters Rockefeller. • (432 views)