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Learn more at ATT.com slash 5G for you. And we return to our American stories. We've all experienced being dragged places by family before, but Mark Foster never dreamed of going abroad. When he answered a phone call from his father-in-law, Robert Williams, it landed him face to face with Communist China in a story he'll never forget.
Here to tell the story of a strange road trip is the man himself. Take it away, Mark. I show up and we exchange pleasantries and again he asked me, you know, what are you going to do? And I told him I really don't have any plans for the, you know, near term. He said, well, I need you to do something for me. And I said, what is that? He said, well, you know, your brother-in-law, Todd, met some engineer from Mississippi who's developed some medical device and Todd wants us to invest in it and they're going to have it manufactured in China.
And I said, China? They said, yeah, they're going to go to China and I need you to go over there with them. And I said, why in the world do you need me to go over there?
I don't know anything about medical equipment. He said, well, I want to, I want you to make sure your brother-in-law doesn't sign any contracts or agrees to anything. I said, so in other words, I'm going to be a babysitter. He said, well, I guess you could put it that way. He had already bought my tickets. I said, well, when am I going? He said, the day after tomorrow. And I'm like, Lord, I said, he's just chilling me. He said, you know, don't worry about her.
I can take care of her. So next thing I know, I'm on a plane, fly to Atlanta and then fly from Atlanta to Tokyo, which is 14 and a half hours. I don't know if you've ever been on an airplane for that long.
It's absolutely miserable. But anyway, we fly into Tokyo and spent the night there. And I guess it was a night or two there. And then we went into South China, went through immigration, which was really kind of nerve wracking because you got all these Chinese soldiers standing around with weapons. We go through and we get on a van and there's actually about 14 or 15 people on this little escapade.
And we drive up this highway. So we get to get to this city that we're supposed to spend a lot of time so we get to get to this city that we're supposed to spend the night in. And then the next day, go tour two or three facilities.
And we were supposed to go to a banquet in a, you know, a couple of hours in the hotel. Todd said, hey, you want to go get a drink? I'm like, yeah, sure.
Why not? And, you know, let's look, look around the area. So we were walking out the front door and this guard stops us, won't let us go out the door.
I'm like, what is going on here? And he pointed over to the receptionist. She spoke some English.
She can understand what we were talking about. And she said, how can I help you? We said we wanted to go get a drink and just walk around. And she said, no, you can't leave the hotel.
We've got instructions that y'all are not to leave the hotel. And so we said, well, okay, but how about getting a drink? She said, you can go up on the second floor where the banquet room is and, and there'll be somebody up there. Y'all can get a drink if you want one. So we went up there.
And then we, you know, we're just kind of standing there and this, this, this man comes walking out from the kitchen area and says, can I help you? We said, well, yeah, we were looking for a drink. And he said, well, what would you like? So, well, just a beer would be fine. And so he says, I'll get you one.
I'll be right back. And he goes back in the kitchen. He comes out. He's got three beers. Well, it's just Todd and I, and I'm wondering, you know, why did he bring three beers? He starts drinking a beer too. So we drank that first beer and he says, you want another one?
We said, well, sure. He walked back. He got another three beers. Well, then he started drinking about two for one with us. And, and I mean, he put away a few beers over the course of the next hour and a half. And we had a, you know, fun conversation with him. He was an interesting guy, spoke very good English and had actually been educated in the United States.
At least that's what he told us. So then it's about time for the banquet and people are starting to come in. So Todd and I go to the table that we were assigned to and this fellow comes over and sits down with us. And I'm like, wow, you know, I'm thinking this guy's the assistant manager of the kitchen or something.
And I'm like, you know, he's just drank about 12 beers and he's going to wind up getting in some big time trouble. They go around the room and you're, you're supposed to stand up and introduce yourself. Well, they come around to our table and I stand up, you know, I'm Mark Foster from Mobile, Alabama. And this fellow stands up and he says, my name is Mr.
Woo. I'm the secretary general of this province. And Todd and I looked at each other like, you gotta be kidding me.
This guy is a head communist in this whole area. And we've been, you know, making fun with him and digging at him some. And I started thinking he's probably going to take us somewhere and torture us. He looks at his watch and says, I've got to go to another meeting, but I'll be back about 10 30 to pick you and Mr. Martin up and take you to see the city. And I'm like, you know, it's like eight o'clock or eight thirty by this time, I'm thinking there's no way this guy's coming back.
So I just kind of forget about it. And we go up to our rooms, lay down. I'm trying to go sleep. And it's, you know, it's 10 30 or so. And my ring phone rings and I pick it up and, and I hear this, Mr. Foster, this is Mr.
Woo. I'm downstairs waiting for you and Mr. Martin take you out to see the city. And I thought it was my brother-in-law, you know, messing with me. So I said, Todd, go back to sleep, man.
I'm tired. So I hung up phone rings again. I said, Mr. Foster, this really Mr. Woo, I'm downstairs to pick you up. So I thought, I cannot believe that clown is down there. So I go knock on Todd's door and I said, Todd, Mr. Woo is downstairs and wants to take us out. He said, I got a terrible headache.
I just, I can't do it. You're going to have to carry the flag. So I'm like, Oh, great. So I go down there and sure enough, there he is. And we walk out to the front door and there's this like a Chinese Humvee type vehicle. And I get up in that thing with him and there's, there's a driver and, and he's got this lady back there. And she said, this is Ms. So-and-so she's from Beijing.
She's an interpreter. I thought, Oh great. You know, they're going to take me somewhere and, and interrogate me. Do you want to get another drink?
I'm like, whatever you want to do, Mr. Woo. We go to another hotel and walk into the bar.
It's pretty late. There's still quite a few people in there. And we walk in and you could tell immediately that everybody in there knew exactly who Mr.
Woo was. And of course, they're looking at me because I'm sure a lot of them had never seen an American before. But we sit down at a table and we're talking. Back in those days, I was in pretty good physical condition. He reaches over and grabs my bicep, squeezes and says, Oh, you're very strong. We kind of laughed and he squeezes again. He said, you're very strong. Arm rustle.
I said, what? He said, Arm rustle. He throws his little skinny elbows up on the table. I reached over there and put him down in about a nanosecond. He was like, you were very strong. So he brings over a couple of other guys and I arm wrestled them. I wound up arm wrestling probably 10 of these Chinese guys.
And I'm just taking them down almost immediately. He looks at me and he says, when are you supposed to leave? I said, well, we're supposed to get on the bus by about seven in the morning to head back to the coast and go to Hong Kong and fly home.
And it's like four o'clock in the morning by now. And he looks at me and he said, you're not going home. I said, what do you mean I'm not going home?
He said, you're going to stay here and we're going to go around arm wrestling and we're going to make a lot of money. I said, Mr. Wu, I cannot do that. I've got three kids at home.
I've got things to do. I cannot stay. He said, Oh yeah, you're staying. Well, I knew, you know, he pretty much held all the chips and it was a long way to run to the coast.
So I thought about it for a second. I said, I tell you what I'll do. You let me go home and I'll promise you I'll come back in a couple of months. And I'm going to bring a buddy of mine from Mobile out here, strongest human being I've ever seen in my life.
I guarantee you there's nobody in China that can beat this guy when we're wrestling. And he looked at me and he said, are you telling me the truth? I said, yes, sir.
And there's nobody can beat this guy. And he said, you promised you'll come back. I said, Oh yeah, I'll come back. So he takes me back to the hotel and literally I had 15 minutes to go pack my stuff and get back on the van we had taken us down to the coast. And then we got on a hovercraft and went back to Hong Kong. And I tell you, I was like looking over my shoulder the whole time, scared to death that, you know, a pack of Chinese soldiers were going to be chasing me. Fly back to the United States, land in Atlanta, and I'm coming through U.S. customs and, you know, a lady agent looks at my passport and says, Oh, you've been to China? And I said, yes, ma'am. And she said, well, welcome back to United States. And I said, lady, you don't know how glad I am to be back in the United States.
And a terrific job on the production, editing and storytelling by our own Billy Foster and a special thanks to Mark Foster. His road trip from, well, you know where, and we all have them folks. By the way, they end up being great stories in the end, not while you're going through them, but when you get out them when they're in the rear view, they become really funny. Send your road trip stories gone wrong to OurAmericanStories.com. That's road trips gone wrong.
Send them to OurAmericanStories.com. The American businessman in China here on Our American Story. And relax with iHeartRadio and Southwest Airlines. In a world of social media notifications and pop-ups, it can be near impossible to focus. But now you have the power to beat distractions and make real breakthroughs with Remarkable, the paper tablet designed for tasks that demand focus. Remarkable is everything you love about paper in one digital system. It's your favorite thinking spot to take notes, draft, read, organize, and more.
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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-23 04:27:27 / 2023-05-23 04:33:42 / 6