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Mistaken Identity

For many years, U.S. Vice Presidents made their home in the Willard Hotel. One night in 1922, a fire caused the evacuation of the hotel. Vice President Calvin Coolidge started to return to his room, but the fire marshal stopped him. The marshal let him proceed when the VP informed the man that he was the Vice President. Before Coolidge had gone more than a few steps, however, the fire marshal asked, “What are you Vice President of?”

“I’m Vice President of the United States!” Coolidge said.

The fireman ordered Coolidge to get back with the rest of the crowd, saying, “I thought you were vice president of the hotel.”

Steve Tally, Bland Ambition (Harcourt Brace) quoted in Reader’s Digest, April, 1997, p. 194.