PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Surreal - that's how Gida Aden describes meeting Nelson Mandela.
"This is the day we met and that's me in the background listening to him tell us a story," said Gida. "I'll file that away as one of the most privileged moments."
A South African herself, spending time with the former president was a dream of hers. She was a young teenager when Mandela righted a major wrong in her country.
"I remember it was slow for things to change, but there was this renewal when he became president," said Gida.
Gida was privileged to meet him six years ago while working at a charity golf tournament in South Africa. Mandela spoke to her about charity, the importance of helping others - and giving back.
"He spoke slower, with conviction, he was emotional. He was the kind of person when he was talking he commanded a room and everyone sat in silence to listen to everything he had to say," said Gida.
Mandela is no stranger in her home, her cherished photo is displayed proudly on a shelf. A book about his life is prominent on her coffee table. Both constant reminders of what he stood for, what he accomplished.
"The word saint comes to mind. He sacrificed his life for human rights, went to prison and all he wanted was to see his country united," said Gida.
He may be gone, but his words and his purpose in life will resonate with her.
"My heart sunk. Sad, but I'm so privileged to have met Nelson. That memory is what is important to me, but it is sad for South Africans and the whole world," said Gida.