Philly Woman Wins Lunch With Hillary Clinton in Contest She Doesn’t Recall Entering
As she listened to the person on the other end of the phone last week, Polly Rose Edelstein thought she was the recipient of a prank or a scam. The caller asked if she remembered entering a contest to win lunch with Hillary Clinton, and she didn’t. She still doesn’t.
“I still can’t remember doing it,” says Edelstein, the development director for Simpatico Theatre Company and founder of the Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival. “I donate $5 or $10 every so often to her campaign and to Planned Parenthood, so I guess I must have gotten an email, one of those ‘enter to win if you donate now’ things. I have no recollection.”
As the caller persisted, claiming that Edelstein didn’t just enter—You won!—she was sure there was something fishy going on.
“I thought this had to be like one of those fake IRS calls,” says Edelstein.
But it wasn’t.
Edelstein was told that she could bring a friend, and that the Clinton campaign would fly her and her guest to the luncheon location, which had yet to be revealed. Edelstein designated her mom, Lisa Dattel, who lives in Memphis, and the pair awaited instruction.
On Sunday, Edelstein found out that they’d be flown from their respective cities to Boston on Wednesday—meaning yesterday—and taken to New Hampshire by car. Edelstein, a West Philadelphia resident, quickly googled Clinton’s schedule and learned that she and Bernie Sanders would be speaking at the University of New Hampshire.
Fast-forward a few days and Edelstein and her mom found themselves at The Works Bakery & Cafe in Durham, New Hampshire.
Secret Service agents announced to the patrons of the restaurant that someone very important was coming in and that they were welcome to stay, assuming they’d consent to be searched.
About 20 minutes later, Clinton walked through the door, smiling at the applauding customers and shaking a few hands.
Edelstein says that Clinton and the six lunch guests—there were three winners, each with a guest—talked about issues important to them.
“We talked a lot about student debt,” recalls Edelstein, noting that this was a major talking point of Clinton’s speech in New Hampshire that day. “At the table, three of us were in our 20s and there was a couple with a high school-aged child, so we shared our concerns about student debt and she spoke of her plan for debt-free college.”
Immigration was also discussed, as two people at the table were first-generation Americans.
And, says Edelstein, they just talked about life.
“She was saying how it’s fun to play to play with her grandchildren in the park in New York, but that she worries about them getting older and being recognized,” Edelstein adds. “She doesn’t want them surrounded by paparazzi.”
As for the food, Edelstein describes the cafe as “sort of a better version of Cosi” and thinks she had some vegetarian sandwich.
“It’s all a blur,” she says. “It was just so surreal.”
The trip was not without controversy. Edelstein’s fiancé is an ardent Clinton supporter and was, it is fair to say, a bit jealous when Edelstein decided to take her mom.
“But once he heard how excited she was, he was OK with it,” she notes.
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