If you consider yourself Sarah Palin’s biggest fans, exactly what does that mean? For 20 year olds, Laura Lomik and Nichole Perrine, it meant 2 days and nights of dedication and determination. Inspired by Sarah Palin, the duo packed up their gear in Brighton Michigan and hit the road 10:00 Wednesday night. They drove five hours in the dark and arrived at Harper’s Point Kroger near Cincinnati, Ohio at 3:00 Thursday morning. As Sarah Palin’s biggest fans, Laura and Nichole slept in an SUV overnight, trying to stay warm in freezing temperatures.
These two young women weren’t trying to prove anything to anyone. They had simply decided these efforts were necessary to guarantee they would be the first of 500 Sarah Palin fans to purchase copies of “America By Heart” and get them signed by the Mama Bear in person. For Laura and Nichole, being Sarah Palin’s biggest fans, also meant a little bit of disappointment.
Thursday Morning – Waking up in a Parking Lot to See Sarah Palin
The book signing was on Friday, but they knew they could reserve a spot and get a number and an armband on Thursday. After a five hour drive and a long cold night, Laura and Nichole were still enthusiastic enough to rise early and enter the Kroger book department at 9:00 A.M to begin the waiting process. An equally enthusiastic Kroger manager told them they were too early. The line was scheduled to begin at 10:00 P.M., and they couldn’t stay in the store.
The young ladies had come prepared. They had chairs, so they set them up outside. According to the manager, that was also a no-no. The girls explained to the manager how far they’d come, and that they’d slept in the car all night to be first in line. The manager asked them to leave anyway. She told them they could reclaim their places when the line began at 10:00 that evening. That would have been a reasonable concession had it worked out that way.
Thursday Night – Laura and Nichole Just Wanted to See Sarah Palin
What could they do after they’d come so far? The pair napped in the car. They spent some time with Vanessa, a friend from nearby Loveland, Ohio. They returned to the Kroger store at 9:00 Thursday evening, but a long line had formed by then.
They explained to the manager on duty, how the earlier manager said the line wouldn’t begin until 10 P.M. She’d promised they could have the spot they’d claimed 12 hours earlier. The manager on duty refused to honor the earlier manager’s promise. “Everybody in line was older,” Laura said. “The manager wouldn’t listen to me.”
While another youthful duo might have argued the point or become belligerent over the broken promise, Laura and Nichole decided to let it go. They hadn’t come so far and slept in the cold just to argue with a store manager.
Friday Morning – Two Nice Girls Who Just Wanted to See Sarah Palin
Laura and Nichole are nice girls, even after a long drive and sleeping out in the cold. They were cheated out of their number one spot, yet they were pleasant and respectful, soft spoken and…. well, nice.
At 11:35 Friday morning Laura, Nichole and Vanessa were standing in the Kroger parking lot hugging freshly signed copies of “America By Heart.” They were still a little bit upset at being upstaged by older adults. Still you could tell they were perfectly happy standing in that chilly parking lot, holding on to their books and showing off their Sarah Palin signatures.
They are nice girls. You could hear it in their voices when they talked about their Sarah Palin encounter. “She hugged us,” Laura said, “and she took our picture.” They love Sarah Palin. They said that several times. They love Sarah Palin and she is their role model. “I felt like I was talking to the next president,” Nichole said.
Sarah Palin couldn’t help but be charmed by the girls who drove all the way from Brighton, Michigan. They were bubbling over with excitement. All three wore “I Love Sarah Palin” sweatshirts. Nichole’s tattoo, “Don’t retreat, just reload,” was Palin inspired.
Laura and Nicole Started out by “Going Rogue” with Sarah Palin
Scanning the crowd, you couldn’t help but notice that Laura, Nichole and Vanessa were different from most of the other Sarah Palin enthusiasts. As Laura said, they were “older,” but the girls didn’t let that dampen their youthful excitement.
They finally got what they came for, a signed copy of “America By Heart” to go with the signed copies of “Going Rogue” they stood in line for at a Grand Rapids bookstore last year.
Interview Laura Lomik and Nichole Perrine – 12/3/2010