Mike Nevrivy never met "the old man," as Nelson Mandela is affectionately referred to by South Africans.
But the owner of HK Sports Bar and Grill has traveled to South Africa a number of times since his first trip there in 2009, a trip where he actually came face to face with the beloved Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former president of South Africa. Mandela died Thursday at home at age 95. The civil rights leader has become the face of freedom in South Africa for his role in toppling the practice of apartheid there.
It was during his visit to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg in 2009 that Nevrivy first encountered Mandela in the flesh. Having separated from the group that accompanied him on the visit, Nevrivy noticed that a few sections of the museum were closed to the public. He quickly learned why.
"He (Mandela) was there and nobody knew it," he said. "All of a sudden, he shows up. They had just opened a permanent exhibition of Nelson Mandela memorabilia and he wanted to see it.