Fresh from the success of COP 21 or the UN Climate Change Conference held in Paris last November 2015, President Barack Obama has done what no other head of state ahead of him has done. And that is to appear in the Survivor-style reality show on NBC “Running Wild with Bear Grylls.”
Grylls, considered “one of reality television’s biggest stars” is considered no ordinary dude. He worked previously as a member of the elite Special Forces. But he wasn’t quite prepared for the extreme protocol and caution that came with guesting the President in the reality show.
The Secret Service left no stone unturned as filming commenced in the Alaskan wild. Helicopters hovered in the air and snipers were positioned in the mountains.
There were stern rules as well. Obama cannot drink or eat anything that hasn’t been tested and certified as safe. In the words of NBC Entertainment: ” You do not hand the president a piece of salmon that a bear has already taken a bite out of and expect him to eat it.”
Previous celebrity guests in “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” like Ben Stiller and Kate Hudson did gutsy things like rapelling or skydiving. Obama, by reason of his stature, wasn’t expected to do that. It simply wasn’t possible.
“I think you assume that someone with that kind of responsibility and power is somehow different from the rest of us,” Grylls told Boston Globe in an interview.
Grylls felt fortunate to see the more human side to Obama, the one most people don’t get to see. This happened as they bonded together in the wilderness. As Grylls cooked the salmon catch for the day, the US President was busy making s’mores. It was also learned that Obama likes hunting through the forest. Both of them shared stories about parenting, religion, and yes, environmental conservation.
“It’s one of the most special moments of my life. I wanted to put my hand on his shoulder and say a bit of a prayer, to pray for protection over his family and for forgiveness when you get things wrong,” Grylls said of his new friend Obama.