WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama and his two daughters enjoyed a pre-Father's Day visit to a dessert shop Saturday.
The president took 10-year-old Malia and 8-year-old Sasha to The Dairy Godmother frozen custard store in Alexandria, Virginia, a short drive across the Potomac River from Washington.
Obama wore slacks and a short-sleeve shirt, and both daughters wore t-shirts and pants for the casual outing, which drew cheers from surprised onlookers.
The president's security detail screened customers seeking to enter the shop while the Obamas were inside.
Shop owner Liz Davis told CNN her first inkling that something out of the ordinary was happening came when several men wearing suits entered her store.
"My manager and I were thinking, 'Wow, they're kinda fancy-dressed for Saturday," she said. "And then they came and said that we were going to be getting a special visitor in about five minutes and would I let them up on the roof?"
She got the key and did just that. When she returned to the store, which was doing a brisk business, at least a dozen Secret Service agents had joined the regular customers, she said.
"I told my staff to put on clean aprons and we just did our usual thing," she said. "We continued waiting on our customers until they came in."
Upon entering, Obama shook Davis' hand ("just right, not too firm and not wimpy").
Except for cutting in line ("nobody minded at all, everybody was very happy to see them"), the first family's experience was like that of any other customer, Davis said.
Sasha got a waffle cone with vanilla custard; Malia got a brownie sundae and vanilla custard and hot fudge with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry, she added.
Their father got a cup of vanilla custard with hot fudge and toasted almonds, she said.
But it didn't end there. After Malia decided she didn't want the whipped cream on her sundae, "the president just took a spoon and put it on his sundae, which is a scene that we see enacted multiple times every day, but it was nice to see it enacted by them in just a normal family way."
After getting their $12.40 order (they paid cash), the family sat in the store and ate, she said.
The transaction went both ways. "My gift to him was to give him as normal an experience as possible for him and his children," she said, noting that she had no qualms about letting him pay.
"I didn't ask him to pose with me, I didn't ask him for his autograph. I wanted it to be just like he was a regular customer coming here because I'm sure it must be really hard for those children to be where they are right now. He probably just wanted to get them custard and not have it be a big deal."
But she did give at least one member of the first family special treatment - three puppy pops for the first dog, Bo.
Davis, who developed her taste for frozen custard growing up in Wisconsin, said the global downturn has not affected her adversely, with her business of 18 part time and two full-time employees up about 20 percent this year over last.
"Maybe they're coming to me instead of doing something more expensive," she said.
Davis said neither the president nor his daughters said they liked the custard, but she's confident they did. "They ate it all," she said.
– CNN's Tom Watkins contributed to this story.
Whine, complain, moan. This must have been a socialist fascist ice cream parlor that caters exclusively to Muslims! Yeah that's it! Excuse me I have to go now because the nurse said it's time to take my medication. I like to take the little blue pills and then watch Fox news because the voices in my head sound just like Sean Hannity.
We live in a world of reality TV, and this is why stories like this are interesting to people... It is kind of nice seeing the president trying to be a normal guy.
With that said, the left wing lemmings that are just oozing wth cutsie wootsie pride over this story were also the ones freaking out about anything Sarah Palin does with her daughters in public. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, no?
I think the novelty here is that President Obama is Black. If he weren't he would not be featured on the news for ordinary things. I don't recall seeing Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Ford, actually doing what a father and husband should do for his family. Maybe they didn't. Hmmmmmmm
This is a nice change from 8 years of brush-clearing and bicycle
riding in Crawford, Texas.
Get to work Obama – and CNN YOU ARE NOT A GOSSIP MAGAZINE – so give us some REAL news – this is pathetic!
Anyone that thinks this Man is'nt working because you see him enjoying his children is a fool. Remember, the one that couldn't multitask, lost.
This is not news. I read it because I wanted to confirm, in my mind, that CNN is actually a brown nose netwrk (soon to be brown shirt network). Suspicion confirmed.
Now that is news that needs to be reported.
Champly-You are disgusting-You must be a "W" Lover-you Know-that President who took us into an undeclared war based on lies-let alone everything else he did illegally-and leaving a huge, disgusting mess for Barack Obama-a most capable man who is doing a great job and restoring our diginity around the globe-not an easy thing to do after the last 8 years.
Haven't you all figured it out yet? President Obama could save the Pope from drowning in holy water, end global starvation, find cures for AIDS and cancer, reverse global warming, help create peace and stability around the world, discover extra-terrestrial life, lower gas prices to a nickel, and he would still be criticized and hated by the self-loathing right-wingers. Attacking the poor guy for taking his kids for ice cream is a pretty clear indication of that.
To all those morons who keep saying "Do your job" every time they see him outside the White House. OMG, you ppl must be kidding right. Just because he's the President, doesn't mean he can't be just a person or a dad at the same time. He is working on getting the agendas he spoke of done, but give the man a little time, he's only been in office since January! You people gave Bush 8 years to ruin everything, how about give him his 4 years to try to do something. Get a grip people and stop being so freaking petty.
Iran, they will figure out their own problems, it's not up to the U.S. to do it for them.
Business will be great for ice cream parlors. I can see it now, black fathers all over the country will swarm ice cream parlors to buy their children a frozen treat because well, if God does it, it must be good.
@David, the do nothing.Im all for sending your sorry gonads over there today.Why dont you enlist you sorry whiner.
Some of you people are down right pathetic!!!!
What is wrong with him being a Dad and having a day with his daughters, after all it is FATHER'S DAY weekend people...
Taking care of Iran, he didn't CREATE the problem...he is doing right by staying out of it...Iran is already saying US meddled when we didn't...
No Letterman joke?
Wonderful story for Father's Day. We all need some cheer.
Thank you CNN.
I gave my dog some doggie ice cream this morning. I got it from my freezer. I was wearing my nightgown, and the dog was wearing his blue collar. I wonder why it didn't make national news?
How wonderful!!! A real person, a real Dad and real kids!!! And I was a republican most of my 65 years!! The man has NOT taken one vacation as opposed to how many did Bush take???? Obama works 24/7 for us, the American people. What a breath of fresh air!!! If he wants to take his girls for ice cream or his wife on a "date" night in New York, Bless him!!!!
Barbara June 21st, 2009 9:15 am ET
"I love that this President takes time for his wife and kids"
Which is what every father should do. It seems though that the President is trying to show awfully hard that he is a good father.
Oh my God, WHO CARES !
Why would anyone say anything negative about this story if it was Any of the previous presidents negativity wouldnt be a comment. Big-ups to this president for trying to lead by example. Also all the DAds that are taking care of their responsibilty Big-ups to you as well and happy Fathers Day.
Hey, was David Letterman there as well?
How about Alex Rodriguez?
What, CNN doesn't find that funny?
It did when the subject was the family of a conservative!
Obama Snacked, Iranian's Got Whacked
how in the world does this become news? tens of thousands of dads (and even moms) had ice cream with their children yesterday. how is this worthy of coverage???
great, many soldiers in iraq would probably do the same thing, if they weren't fighting for your freedom, which allows you to make laws that pay loser ceos bailout salaries off of hard earned tax payer money. probably each loser ceo enjoys this freedom this day