Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was headed to an event in Pilsen when a woman collapsed in front of his idling car on Thursday when it was so hot and humid.
Emanuel jumped out to help her to the sidewalk.
“He didn’t hesitate. He went up to her and held her and gave her some water (he always has one on hand). She seemed to feel better right away,” said Luis Alfredo Santos, a passerby who stopped to help. “He asked her to sit in the car for the air conditioner.”
After cooling down, the woman turned down help from an ambulance and instead accepted a ride home by a beat cop.
But that’s only part of the story.
It turns out Emanuel and Santos know each other. They met a few weeks earlier at an event for the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, which helps businesses set up shop in struggling neighborhoods. Santos received a grant for his grocery store, Carniceria la Hacienda No. 4.
“When we won the award, the mayor called from his cell phone. I called him back. He said ‘This is Mayor Emanuel.’ I said ‘Mayor Emanuel? This is your cell phone?’ He called to congratulate us, but he had to be brief because he was at his daughter’s prom. I was surprised at how accessible he is.”
Santos was in the neighborhood near Cermak and Wood avenues looking to grab a bite for lunch when he saw Emanuel and his entourage helping the overheated woman. The mayor “did a double-take” when he saw Santos.
A spokesman for the mayor confirms the tale and calls it a perfect example of Chicago being a big city that that runs like a small town.
Sherry Lansing gives a nod to Lab Schools
The Union League Club hosted Sherry Lansing last week talking about a new biography about her. But before that, the former Hollywood producer got together with family and friends at the high-rise home of Christie Hefner.
The two women got to know each other when Hefner was CEO of Playboy Enterprises and Lansing was CEO of Paramount Pictures.
“Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker” was written by Hollywood reporter Stephen Galloway, who also attended the party. In the book, Lansing credits her high school years at University of Chicago Lab Schools for shaping her as a career woman. “She honed her work ethic and social grace, her intellect and drive” Galloway writes.
Lansing talked about her career and dropped names in doing so: Robert Redford, Mike Myers and Mel Gibson (“He’s really nice,” she says). But she beamed at mentioning the family and friends who attended. Among them: Nancy Garfien, Hazel Herzog, Lynn Marcus, Laurie Marshall, Linda Scott and John Stiefel.
Lou Raizin sees the light
Lou Raizin, the president of Broadway in Chicago, which brought “Hamilton” to the city, is starting a nonprofit organization he hopes will boost tourism.
The organization will, among other projects, create nighttime light shows. Imagine colorful projections on big walls of the Merchandise Mart.
The goal would be to create coveted Instagram moments, said Raizin, who back in 2014 worked on a lighting plan that was supported by the mayor and Choose Chicago. Raizin sits on the board of Choose Chicago.
He hopes a nonprofit, with private donations and support, can make the idea a reality.
“Not having direct ties to government allows the not-for-profit to be more nimble and get things done in ways and at a speed that government can’t,” Raizin said.
City light shows aren’t revolutionary. New York recently approved an outdoor light show that will highlight toll bridges. It’s called “The City That Never Sleeps.”
There’s no name yet for Raizin’s light program or nonprofit.
In Sweet Home Chicago, “Sweetness and Light” sounds nice.
Wirtz family’s busy day
At the very same time Rocky Wirtz toured the Chicago Blackhawks’ new practice center with VIPs on Friday, his son Danny Wirtz played host to a community party for youngsters in the Austin neighborhood.
The younger Wirtz is chairman of Breakthru Beverage Group, which teamed up with BUILD, a nonprofit that works with youths in struggling South and West side neighborhoods. Breakthru brought 250 employees to staff the parade and carnival that saw some 2,000 attendees.
The Wirtzes then focused on the NHL draft.
Not forgotten was the birthday that same day of Rocky’s wife, Marilyn.
The couple would celebrate later, Rocky said, with “two steaks we’ll cook in the back yard. And with our four beagles.”
Rocky Wirtz is an investor in Wrapports LLC, which owns the Sun-Times.
Read more Taking Names at shiakapos.com.