Árpád Göncz was one of the most beloved political figures in the post-communist era. In 1994 his popularity rating was in the 80s. To put this into perspective, the latest list is led by President Áder with 47 points. The reason for the popularity of Uncle Árpi – as he was widely known – is very simple: amidst all the political battles – and he had quite a few – he always remained a genuinely nice guy. I could go on about him always being approachable, but a few stories probably paint a much better picture about the kind of person he was. Only three days after becoming president-elect, Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Hungary. Göncz apologised in advance at the airport for not knowing the correct protocol and making mistakes. “Your family has been doing this for a thousand years, I started three days ago,” he told Charles. Upon entering a presidential palace on a foreign trip, Göncz accidentally started shaking hands with a very well-dressed person. It was the usher. Without skipping a beat, the president moved on to the actual host, but after their meeting was over he didn’t forget to stop and shake the hand of the usher once again. He was also the president to pardon the last person – a murderer – on death row. “I was told later that this caused quite an uproar. I stand beside my decision. I said so in the beginning: as long as I am president, there will be no executions in Hungary,” he commented on the reaction later. “I worked together with four governments and I had disagreements with all of them, but I have neither the right nor a reason to doubt their good intentions,” he said in his farewell speech in 2010. “After God allowed us ten years to work together, let me finally say one more thing that I have every reason to say: Thank you, Hungary!” No. Thank you, Mr. President.