Rose Rhoades was a young waitress at the then Patsy Clark's in Browne's Addition back in September 1989. One day she was asked to give a tour of the building to two gentlemen "One of the staff members said there are a couple of gentlemen that want a tour of the mansion they're very insistent that it has to be right now," said Rhoades.
This was five days before the late former President George H.W. Bush was to arrive in Spokane to discuss environmental issues and officially marked Washington's Centennial Trail.
Rose Rhoades didn't know at the time that those two men that asked random questions about doors and windows but not about the history of the building were, in fact, the lead Secret Service detail. She thought it was strange "I thought those were the oddest questions to ask about this beautiful mansion and I went up after I left and told my boss I think I had a couple of guys casing the place for a robbery," explained Rhoades.
But word spread quickly that the Republican president, Democratic Speaker of the House Tom Foley and his wife Heather, and then EPA Administrator William Reilly would be having dinner at Patsy Clark's. Rose says it was just your typical day besides the noticeable police presence outside the restaurant "I walk in the door put down my purse and Jim the manager says Rose in ten minutes you're going to wait on the president. And I said the president of what he goes you know the president of the united states. And I went oh get out of here," said Rhoades.
Rose thought her manager was joking, but he wasn't. In walked the president. Secret Service tucked the president and the others into this room called the Chinese Game Room. The reason? Was because of the stain glassed windows so no one could see in and the multiple exits in case something were to happen, and secret service could whisk the president away "I walked in the door he's sitting at the table he stands up he walks over to me. Your name? I said my name is rose nice to meet you rose he shakes my hand he says you can call me George. He wanted me to, and he set the tone for the entire night," said Rhoades.
Bush put Rose at ease. They laughed and joked together throughout the evening. That night the president had the special which was a New York pepper steak along with a spinach salad. And for desert huckleberry pie. Broccoli was nowhere in sight. Those who knew the president knew that he didn't like broccoli
But when it came time for the bill Rose says this was one of the memorable parts of the night "I put it down, and he picks it up and goes "you will take a check from me won't you Rose?" said President Bush. "What do I say? If you have two pieces of identification he howled at that," recalled Rose.
Rose still has that check along with a note thanking from the former late president Rose for her professionalism that night. She also has a letter from the president that she received the day after. Along with that letter that said at the bottom "tell Rose she was a-okay!" also included was cash for dinner and an 18 percent tip. That after word got out the owner of the restaurant wanted to frame the check instead of cashing the check.
Rose will always remember the president as a humble and gracious man "he was just a decent man you could tell that he just seemed honest, he cared about people you know he was a patriot."