Last week, as the nation's capital braced for business and traffic disruptions Friday when NATO convened its 50th anniversary summit, NATSO, a Washington, DC-based trade association representing America's travel plaza and truckstop industry, decided to maintain a sense of humor through it all.
On Friday, at the same time that more than 1,700 delegates gathered for the NATO proceedings, a modest group of 100 NATSO members from around the country, coincidentally, also arrived in Washington, DC, for their association's annual government affairs conference.
In light of highly publicized concerns over traffic gridlock stemming from the magnitude of the NATO gathering, the similarities in name, venue and timing were simply too much for the association to resist.
In a tongue-in-cheek full page advertisement appearing in last Thursday's edition of Roll Call, the newspaper of Congress, NATSO feigned ignorance of the gathering of world leaders and apologized "to all who live and work in the District of Columbia" for the anticipated traffic congestion that "the NATSO Conference" could cause.
The ad goes on to offer a minor critique of all who allegedly can't seem to get NATSO's name correct. "We don't mean to be picky," the ad states, "but we've noticed that many of you have left the 'S' out of our name. It's NATSO, not NATO."
"We could grouse about our misfortune in timing, but what good would be served?" observed NATSO President W. Dewey Clower. "This is a city that often takes itself far too seriously, and while our association's members are coming to town to discuss meaningful issues with members of Congress, we also hope to convey that the travel plaza and truckstop industry is comprised of genuine, hard-working Americans. One of the greatest attributes any of us can possess is a sense of humor, so we're offering to take NATO's lumps purely in the spirit of fun."
For more information, visit