An encounter with President ObamaWritten by Brian Malkowski | | email@example.com
“He will have juice and I’ll have coffee,” I said to the waitress after my son and I sat down Labor Day at Rick’s City Diner. After our drinks came, I ordered a fruit dish for Liam and a Western omelet for myself. We had arrived around 10 a.m. with the restaurant about a quarter full and people coming and going as they would on any other day.
What I and the rest of the customers had thought was just another morning breakfast soon turned into a once-in-a-lifetime experience. At 10:15 a.m., a gentleman walked to the center of the room and asked for everybody’s attention. He said he was from the Secret Service and that in 15 to 30 minutes we should expect a special guest. He said if we wanted to leave we would have to do it at that moment. If we chose to stay we would be in for a great experience, but would have to remain in the restaurant until the special guest had left.
To be honest, I didn’t know if I would be able to stay because my soon-to-be 2-year-old son can only stay put for so long. I decided to stay and figured if Liam got restless, the Secret Service would just have to deal with it. For the next 15 minutes, everyone was searched and we sat in anticipation.
Around 10:45 a.m., about 30 vehicles surrounded the building. Among those vehicles were two presidential limos, one of which was carrying President Obama. No one inside the restaurant could believe what was happening as, seconds later, the president walked through the back door.
Obama made his way through the back of the restaurant and the news media poured in through the front. The chaos was nice because my son was interested in what was going on. Obama said, “Hello everybody, pretend like I’m not even here. When I am done with breakfast I will come around and meet with everyone,” and took a seat for breakfast.
After the president finished breakfast, he made his way down the aisle to meet and greet the customers. I knew I had only about five minutes before Liam was going to erupt, so I decided to sit him on my knee. The couple Obama was talking to before me was taking a while and Liam began to fuss so I let him stand, but that was a bad idea because seconds later he bumped his head on the table.
A moment of silence by a toddler who has just hurt himself means an eruption is about to happen, and it did — and that is how Liam met the President of the United States. Obama and I tried to calm him down, but it wasn’t happening. That’s when a member of the Secret Service jetted over with a box of presidential M&Ms. In the instant silence by Liam and applause by the customers, I had the opportunity to introduce my son to the president.
After shaking hands and introducing myself, I asked Liam (who was wearing a Tigers Jersey) to remind the president what had happened to his White Sox over the weekend. Obama laughed and then told the restaurant what I had said. He asked if I had any more kids and I said, “After this one, I am one and done.” The president said he had it pretty easy only having girls. “Boys, however, can be a little tougher to raise.” We shook hands again and he said, “You have a good-looking boy; take care.”
Obama then worked his way around the room and paid his bill. After that he was off to Scott High School to give a Labor Day speech.
I spent $14.84 in the restaurant, but the experience was priceless. Liam will be 2 on Oct. 1 and I hope someday he will appreciate the day he met the President of The United States.