As the world mourns the death of Queen Elizabeth II, an Acadiana woman is recounting an experience she had with her royal highness while living in Tampa, Florida.
She was part of the Mayor's advisory council for disabilities.
While there, she received an invitation to see the Queen during her stop in Tampa.
She now looks back at not one, but two encounters with Queen Elizabeth.
In 1991 Donna Baltakis was asked by the Mayor's office to present the Queen with flowers as she visited Tampa. "She came up to us and I presented the flowers and I said, Your Majesty, you honor our city with your visit today. She looked at me, took them and said, thank you. She said We are inspired by your courage and your community, your commitment to the community. I thought that was so nice of her and she went on,” Baltakis said.
KATC spoke to Baltakis, and what she remembers as an honorable moment, suddenly turned into chaos.
"Well, after I presented the flowers and said hello to her, and she walked by, I thought, Well, I'm gonna go get my car and get out of the downtown area before the traffic gets bad. But when I got back to my car it had been towed,” Baltakis said.
Diagnosed with polio as a child--she had a brace on her leg that also broke, however, she wanted to see the queen's motorcade that would soon pass by.
"And the limo stopped in front of me. And the window came down. And Prince Philip said, we met you. What's the problem? I said, Well, they've towed my car I broke my brace. I'm trying to get some help, but I thought I'd see you one more time. The Queen leaned forward and said, "I'm so sorry. You're going through all of this because of me. We will get help for you right now. Are you okay?" I said "Yes, ma'am". So she said something to someone in the car. Next thing I know a motorcycle police officer from the motorcade came over, said something to someone in the car and said Yes, ma'am. And the Prince said you take care of yourself and thank you again for your kindness. I said Thank you, Your Majesty, and off they went,” Baltakis said.
A moment Baltakis says she'll never forget.
"They were just such a wonderful warm couple to think that this is the Queen and she's so well known throughout the whole world and here I am face to face with her giving her flowers and she said such nice things that she was inspired by what we were trying to do. Well we were inspired by everything she had accomplished,” Baltakis added.
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