Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez shaking hands with Ben Harris

Meeting Pedro Sánchez — My Grip-and-Grin Moment With Spain’s Prime Minister

Oct. 22, 2022

“Would you like to meet the prime minister tomorrow?”

That’s not a question I was expecting from the father of my host family as we sat around the dinner table making weekend plans. I responded with a questioning glance at Miguel.

“He’ll be at a Socialist Party rally in Soria tomorrow and some friends of mine are going,” Miguel added. “Do you want to go?

“Certainly, of course,” I responded. It was a no-brainer. My first week in Spain on this visit and I was being given the opportunity to meet the prime minister. Wow!

The rally was typical political fare with a few warmup speeches given by local leaders followed by Sánchez’ keynote. All telling about the great work their party was doing for people and how the other parties are failing the country. I was fortunate to have a family friend of my host family translate with a summary for me.

An hour and a half later Sánchez finished his speech and the masses huddled around for their selfie moments with the PM. My grip-and-grin moment arrived. I handed Sánchez a lapel pin and told him it showed the Alaska state flag. I added, “Spain is wonderful, you have great people here.” I was told that Sánchez is fluent in English so I chose to spoke in my native tongue rather than use my garbled Spanish.

Sánchez gripped my hand while Miguel took photos of me with the PM. “Enjoy Soria,” responded Sánchez. My grip-and-grin moment was complete. Sánchez moved on for selfie moments with others. Mission accomplished.