Carl M. Cannon
excerpt from RCP:
And although Romney is a capitalist through and through, he’s no Donald Trump: Romney is not the kind of executive who chews up underlings or alienates colleagues. He inspires obvious loyalty in those who work for him, evidenced by the close cadre of advisers who form his inner circle and who have followed him from job to job, campaign to campaign, in the public and private sectors.
Bain, his venture capital firm, has been disparaged by Romney’s 2012 opponents for its supposed forays into “vulture capitalism.” But those who worked there remember not only a successful company, but a nurturing one.
They recall that in 1996 Romney called one of Bain’s partners in the New York office, a man named Robert Gay, to inquire why he hadn’t been at work. A distraught Gay confided to Romney that his 14-year-old daughter had taken a train from her home in Connecticut to New York City a few nights before and hadn’t been seen since. The girl’s parents learned she had attended a “rave” concert on Randall’s Island, but that was all they knew.
Romney called a meeting of the other managing partners and told them he was closing the office for a while and going to New York to see if he could help find the child. Every company partner or employee volunteered to go with him, and the Bain contingent from Boston turned a conference room at the LaGuardia Marriott into a command post. From there they badgered the authorities, hired a private detective, printed 200,000 missing-person fliers, conducted media interviews, set up a hotline, and even walked the streets knocking on doors in neighborhoods where they believed the girl might be found.
“It was the most amazing thing, and I’ll never forget this to the day I die,” Robert Gay said.
“Our children is what life is all about,” Romney explained when asked why he simply closed the doors of a $1 billion company. “Everything else takes a back seat.”
As it turned out, the young girl had been given the drug ecstasy, and reacted badly to it. She was holed up in the home of an older boy worried that he was in trouble. Another kid who saw the Bain-produced fliers called authorities, and she was found, still dazed from her drug overdose. Gay later related that doctors told him she might not have survived another day.
“The man who helped save my daughter was Mitt Romney,” Gay said when his former colleague first ran for president in 2008. “I’m not sure we would have gotten her back without him.”
In their end-of-the-year report, Bain’s partners agreed that this episode was their most important accomplishment of 1996. “It really overshadowed everything we did from a money standpoint,” Romney said at the time. “I mean, money is just money.”
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