When Greg Harris went to buy his morning scone on Friday, customers in the bakery came up to hug him and say how proud they were to live in Illinois.
A lot of people were hugging Harris last week, asking to pose with him for photos, telling him stories of their engagements and relationships, and saying, simply, thank you.
You probably saw him in the news Tuesday, a tall, rangy guy with a shining dome of a head and a voice like a foghorn, standing in jubilation on the floor of the Illinois House, the same guy who just five months earlier had stood in the same room and wept.
In May, Harris stood up to acknowledge to his fellow lawmakers that he couldn't muster enough votes to pass a same-sex marriage bill. Last week, with one vote to spare, the job got done.
Harris went from being the villain who wouldn't put the bill up for a vote, fearing it would fail, to the hero who, with a lot of help, changed the course of history.
When I went to see him in his tiny, dim, cluttered North Side office Friday morning, Harris had been up most of the night answering congratulatory email, but he managed to look crisply professional in a white shirt trimmed by silver cuff links.
"On sale," he said when asked about the cuff links. "I'm my father's son. If it's on sale, buy it."
He'd just gotten an email from his dad saying his aunt had heard him on NPR. He was about to head off for another day of appearances talking about the marriage bill.
For a year, Harris said, he carried the roll call list of legislators in his jacket pocket at all times, pulling it out a couple of times a day, unfolding it, checking names.
Who would vote yes? Who was a maybe? Was a yes person getting squishy? Did they need to be called?
Whenever he was in Springfield — where he'd get up by 5, read the news, answer email, post on Facebook, get coffee and a scone and arrive at his office by 8 — he tried to "keep a poker face" with reporters eager to know when the bill would be called, how many votes he had.
And there was the question he constantly asked himself: What if we can't get this done?
"This was not just another piece of legislation," he said.
This was personal.
Harris is 58, raised in a time when being gay could cost you a job or worse. Born in Denver, he moved around to small towns with his family and arrived in Chicago in 1977 to work in marketing.
"To come here and find lots of people like me," he said, "it was amazing."
He never faced overt discrimination, though once, when he was up for a promotion, he decided to pre-empt the gossip by telling his boss he was gay.
"We all know that," the boss said with a shrug.
"Sometimes," Harris said Friday, "you underestimate the goodness of the people around you."