When the President of United States is going to be in your neck of the woods and is a fan of the product your company created, you drop everything for the chance of a lifetime.
Such was the case for Trikke co-founder John Simpson in March, 2012, when the perfect confluence of circumstances brought him together with former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, during a Carter Center retreat at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego.
“It was tremendous,” said Simpson, who came bearing gifts. (The Carters were given custom Trikke polo shirts and new T8 Sports.) “One minute I’m meeting him, the next I’m helping him adjust his helmet, up really, really close.”
Simpson admits to being nervous, but apparently, not for long.
“He’s a very down to earth guy,” said the Trikke Tech co-founder of the former leader of the free world. “He’s got these bright, blue eyes that bore right into you as he’s talking to you.”
Perhaps even more impressive to Trikke riders: “He has such an appreciation for Trikke,” said Simpson, who also named the Carters honorary Trikke trainers, a role that just might come in handy.
Before the Carters arrived on scene, Trikkes of all varieties stood idly in the hotel parking lot. That is, until several attendees of the Carter Center winter retreat — who were up in age, according to Simpson — started “just jumping on [the electric Trikkes] and riding around.”
Fortunately, no one was injured, but the spontaneous outbreak did plant a seed for Simpson: a riding school, of sorts, for the Carter Center staff.
It’s an idea Jimmy and Rosalynn would most likely approve of.
“Bottom line, they love the product,” said Simpson. “They ride it religiously. [While speaking to the media], President Carter didn’t want to talk about anything but Trikke.”
The fact that the former Prez has had hip and knee replacement surgery — and thinks Trikke is the best way to rehab — planted another seed in the CEO’s mind:
“We really have to lean more about promoting Trikke as a great rehab option,” he said. “For knee, hip, anything orthopedic, really.”
But ideas weren’t all Simpson took away from the day. When asked about lasting impressions, he replied:
“They way the Carters ride as a couple. It’s a thing they do together. They’re just out having fun, enjoying this thing called Trikke, which they love riding together.”
That love of Trikke is making a difference. The President and First Lady donated the day’s gifts — their helmets and two T8’s — which were auctioned off during the retreat, raising $7,000 for the Carter Center.
• A version of this story originally appeared in TrikkeWorld Magazine in 2012.