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Posted at 09:00 PM ET, 10/12/2011

State dinner guest David Kim, and how he almost missed it


David Kim, co-founder of C2 Education Centers, will be a guest at Thursday's state dinner for South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. (Michael Passaglia)

Most people would be thrilled to be invited to a state dinner and David Kim is. . . now. But it took some persuading.

The 32-year old entrepreneur and founder of C2 Education Centers, Inc. in Atlanta received one of the coveted engraved invitations to Thursday’s state dinner for South Korean President Lee Myung-bak — but didn’t realize it until a co-worker pointed out the return address on the thick ivory envelope.

“I just assumed it was a wedding invitation,” said Kim, who had several friends get married this year. “It was literally lying on my desk for a week, in my inbox. ” (**State dinner preview**)

He finally opened the invite last week and called the RSVP line. A recording asked for his birth date, Social Security number, place of birth — all the standard info for security clearance into the White House.

Or was it. . . a brilliant identity-theft scam? That’s what suddenly jumped into his head.

“My skepticism went into overdrive, “ he told us. So he just left his name and phone number.


A table setting for January’s state dinner with Chinese President Hu Jintao. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Then Kim called his dad in Seoul: Heard anything about the president coming to Washington? His dad confirmed the visit, just about the same time e-mails started flooding in from D.C. friends who saw his name in our column last week speculating which Korean Americans might get asked to the dinner. And then the White House called back and convinced him the invitation was the real deal.

“I’m very excited,” he said. His friends lobbied to be his plus-one (a pal offered $100 if he’d take her) but Kim — no fool — is bringing his girlfriend. And maybe a pocket camera.

“I plan to be Mr. Tourist that evening,” he told us.”I think cool is great, but when else do you get the opportunity to dine with two presidents?”

Read earlier: Korean state dinner: Michelle Obama’s dress, 10/13/11; State dinner for South Korea guest list; State dinner for Korea preview: Michelle Obama’s dresses; a history of state dinners, 1013/11; State dinner guest David Kim, and how he almost missed it, 10/12/11; White House state dinner for Korea: We try to guess the guests, 10/5/11

By  |  09:00 PM ET, 10/12/2011

Categories:  White House State Dinner

 
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