Although Gov. Rick Perry is not her political cup of tea, a bubbly 62-year-old Patricia Johnson said a personal letter from him about her hospitality was exciting and unbelievable.
“I’m just really tickled pink about all of this,” she said.
Perry’s letter, dated Dec. 4, thanked Mrs. Johnson for the hospitality she showed an Illinois couple while they were visiting the Tyler Rose Museum Gift Shop where she has worked for the past seven years.
“Sandy and Bill Schwalb from Illinois recently wrote to let me know about your kindness to them on a visit to the Tyler Rose Museum,” the governor wrote in his letter to Ms. Johnson. “The people of Texas know the meaning of hospitality, and your actions are a shining example. I could not be more proud to call you a fellow Texan.”
Mrs. Johnson, who with her husband, Booker, have 14 grandchildren to dote on, said that when she picked up the mail she couldn’t believe her name was on an envelope from the governor’s office.
“I thought, ‘Now why is he writing me, truthfully, I didn’t even vote for him?’” she said, giggling. “When I read what he wrote, I just couldn’t believe it. Who gets a letter from the governor thanking them for their hospitality? I feel so honored.”
The 1969 Robert E Lee High School graduate, nicknamed Prissy by her co-workers, said she loves her job at the Rose Museum, and it gives her the chance to meet people from across the nation as they visit Tyler.
Mrs. Johnson said she has fun with her co-workers, who named her Ms. Priss, because they say she likes to priss around.
One of her most memorable times at work is when her boss accidentally locked her in the museum.
“I wasn’t in there long before she realized I was in there and opened the door,” she said laughing.
Mrs. Johnson said she makes it a point to talk to everyone who comes through the museum doors.
“Most of the time I don’t even know who I am talking to or where they are from,” she said. “I am just talking, selling and welcoming them to Tyler. I don’t even know the two people the governor talked about in his letter.”
Lonny Uzzell, Tyler Rose Museum board president, said the letter only confirms what those who know Mrs. Johnson already know of her and her personality.
“She is a quality person, and we are blessed to have us working with us,” Uzzell said. “She treats everybody as if they are the most important person, and that is a very rare quality.”
He described Mrs. Johnson as a bubbly and genuine Southern lady who constantly promotes Tyler and the Rose Museum.
“The letter is a huge compliment to her, but we know we have the right person in the right place,” he said.
Mrs. Johnson laughed and said she is just herself every day.
“Once you come into the gift shop, don’t think you’re going to leave in a hurry, because I am going to talk to you,” she said. “A lot of times I will walk you to the door, and I am steady talking. I don’t meet any strangers.”
But what does a person with such a positive outlook on life dislike?
She said she does not like seeing a person with a frown.
“I can’t stand a sad face so I will talk just to cheer them up,” she said. “Everyone should be happy.”
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