When people tell stories about events in the past, they sometimes use the present tense instead of the past tense. This is mostly used in spoken storytelling, not in writing. When people tell stories this way, it sounds more dramatic:
I wanted to get a meeting with the vice president, so I called him at his office. His secretary answered the phone, and I told her why I wanted to meet with him. She says, "I'm sorry, but Mr. Liebowitz isn't taking any sales meetings right now." So I tell her, "No, this isn't a sales meeting. I just want to get his advice on a new product that my company is building."