A friend of mine called and asked if I wanted to see celebrity astrophysicist Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson speak, for the first time in Canada, at the University of Manitoba in March. I said, "Of course." Immediately I knew I was going to bring my copy of his book, Space Chronicles, to get signed if possible.
His speech did not disappoint. When it was over, I expected to hear where he would be signing books, but there wasn’t an announcement.
I learned on the way out that he would be at the University Centre, so I decided to walk over as my friend turned to go home.
I entered the building and saw Dr. David Barnard, president and vice-chancellor of the university, speaking with Dr. Tyson. He seemed to be quite busy making his way through the hall, but I wanted to know where the book signing was.
I introduced myself to Dr. Barnard and asked where to go. Kindly he told me that the book signing was for the VIP guests and asked if I had a pass. I explained that I did not have one. He asked someone if there was a pass available but there were none. I figured my luck had run out.
As I was about to turn away and leave, Dr. Barnard stopped me and asked for my book. He said he was going for dinner with Dr. Tyson later that evening and would see if he could sign it then. I was astonished and promptly handed it over.
The book arrived the following Tuesday in the mail signed by Dr. Tyson and accompanied by a photo. I was ecstatic!
I couldn’t believe that the president of the University of Manitoba took time during his very busy day, with such a prominent figure as Dr. Tyson on campus, to help out a complete stranger.
— Jason Bourgeois