In 2000, word came to Helms that some rock star wanted to meet with him about increasing U.S. aid to Africa. Helms didn’t know who the guy was. (His staff told him.) But as soon as they met, Helms says, he knew Bono was for real.
Here are the qualities Helms admired in Bono:
- He had his facts in hand.
- He was dedicated to his cause and had no agenda other than serving people in desperate need. There was no pretense about him.
- He helped Helms understand the scope of the AIDS epidemic in Africa, especially the pain it is inflicting on infants and children.
- He was ready to make decisions.
- He was willing to work with anyone, even a conservative senator from North Carolina.
—Adapted from “Bono: I Knew That He Was Genuine,” Jesse Helms, Time.