But some very excited passengers received the opportunity to shake hands with the 92-year-old.
James Parker Sheffield filmed the entire moment that Carter started shaking hands with fellow fliers on a Delta flight from Atlanta to DC on June 8.
The former president is seen in the video smiling and laughing as he greeted the passengers.
Some folks can be heard in the background saying: ‘I love you Jimmy Carter,’ as the president walked down the aisle with security in tow.
See Video Below.
Sheffield told WSB-TV he was on his way to DC when the former president boarded the flight and shook the hand of every passenger.
‘It’s hard to put into words what a nice reprieve from the current political theater this moment was,’ Sheffield said.
He added that it was very apparent that Carter genuinely loves people.
‘His enthusiasm was authentic and humble, in a way that made things feel less heavy for a moment,’ Sheffield said.
Sheffield was leaving from Atlanta on June 8 for Transgender Lobby Day at Capitol Hill. He tweeted the moment, which has bee re-tweeted more than 10,000 times.
In a video message recorded in Atlanta, Carter noted that he shared ‘mutual respect’ for Ford and an ‘intense personal friendship’.
Ford was a congressman from Grand Rapids, Michigan, before becoming vice president and then president.
He died in 2006. Steven Ford said in a statement that his father and Carter ‘illustrated to the nation that politics can be handled with dignity, class and respect’.
Past recipients of the medal include former President George H.W. Bush in 2016 and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 2010.