after giving a talk in paris, she was getting ready to go to the hotel and pack up to go to the airport, and her friends told her not to go back to her hotel, but come with them to their house for dinner, and then they'd get her to the airport in time for her 1am flight.
they had dinner, and were sitting around talking when the phone rang. the host answered the phone and was surprised when it was for ms. ebadi, because no one knew that she was there. he told her it was for her, and she figured that it was one of her friends who loved to play practical jokes on her.
the person on the other line said that he couldn't identify himself, but he implored her to stay put and said that he needed to call her back in a few hours. she was incredulous, convinced that this was a practical joke, and about to hang up when the man on the line asked her if she would be more apt to listen to the request if it came from the lips of a woman who she knew and respected (whose name i don't know, let's just call her mrs. johnson). a little surprised, ms. ebadi said yes, and the man handed the phone to mrs. johnson, who asked her to please just stay where she was. ms. ebadi was curious as to how they found out where she was at that moment, when nearly no one in the world could know, but mrs. johnson had nothing to say about that. she just asked ms. ebadi to stay put; ms. ebadi tried to explain that she needed to leave for the airport to catch her flight in less than an hour, but mrs. johnson would have none of it.
finally, when she realized that unless she said something more to convince ms. ebadi to stay, she wasn't going to get what she was asking for, she told her. she said that ms. ebadi was on a VERY short list for the nobel peace prize, and that it was being decided at just that moment. the committee would have a decision within a few hours, and they needed her to be reachable when it was decided. ms. ebadi was flabbergasted, honored, flattered, and yet, the first thing she asked was who the other person on the list was.
it was the pope.
with that, ms. ebadi just about hung up the phone and left for the airport, saying that there was no way that she'd win over the pope, just when a raucous started on mrs. johnson's end of the line. it sounded like a bunch of people had just entered the room, and ms. ebadi could hear her name being whispered and said in the background. just then, mrs. johnson told her that she had been chosen, and now would she please stay where she was?