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.
I , for one, am tired of Obama exploiting his kids and then blasting deadbeat dads and moms. Palin can't even take her daughter to a ballgame without being smeared by Obamabots. Why does he need tp prove that he sees his kids once in a while? He needs to try and help solve the country's problems and stay off the "photo-op circuit". Where is the photo of him picking up dog BO's dump?
This is news? Come on, you can do better than this! Get over this guy. Jeesh!
Best part of this story, how great that shop owner was to just leave them alone and not insist on autographs and photos and let the kids just have a moment with their dad.
Big deal; I'm sure a lot of father's are either taken out by their kids or wife for father's day. I don't need to know what Obama and his kids wore to a dessert shop. I need to know when he is going to start acting like a president instead of a trying to act like a king that wants the gov. to controll everymove of my daily life and demand his programs to be passed by congress without even looking at the long term affects on this country.
This is a sweet story. Pardon the pun.
I love that this President takes time for his wife and kids.
Why is this news? There are more important issues to report on than the president and his daughters getting ice cream. Love the president, but this is too much.
Enough already. This is what passes for news at cnn. Give me a break. And he paid cash to boot , wow what a guy.
Becareful sifto77, those Obamafanatics are going to attack you!
Atleast this weekend he was in DC, saving the country some money on airplane fuel.
Although I gotta tell you, when he is overseas pleasing the arabs, our stock markets go up. Maybe he should spend more time out of the country.
ENOUGH ENOUGH ENOUGH ALREADY
Stop with this ridiculous coverage.
What's next? Obama wipes Sasha's behind after embarassing incident?
To Ginnhy , "how nice to have a moment with thier dad", didn't they just have a family vacation in Paris!
He looks "concerned" LOL
sifto77 – how is President Obama exploiting his children? He simply wanted to take them out for a treat, you know, something regular fathers do. He just happens to be the POTUS and thus there are greater measures to be taken. If anything, it's the worldwide media that has the POTUS under the microscope. So don't hate the player; hate the game – place the blame on the responsible entity – the media.
"Exploiting his kids"?? By taking them for ice cream? What an incredibly mean-spirited outlook. These youngsters need all the normal outings they can get. It's nice to see pleasant little stories like this, especially when we've spending most of our TV and online time now hearing about the outrage in Iran.
Another CNN promotion for team Obama...haven't been on this site for over a year since CNN belongs to Obama, haven't turned on CNN unless it was only to hear Lou Dobbs, go to CNN now to see if things have changed and of course...no. CNN...your stories are so meaningless and fruity towards Obama and the things that really matter that I and my family, now won't be back for another 6 months...we'll see if you write about his policies that potentially might ruin our great country...but I doubt it.
The First Family set a terrific example for families.
I am sure that he RUSHED them over to the shop. You know, time is of the essence...never waste a crisis. Act NOW!!! He has completely lost credibility with me. Says whatever to get his way...VERY arrogant in my opinion.
Special thanks for this story. Special thanks to Liz Davis, the owner, and staff of the Alexandria, Virginia custard shop, "The Dairy Godmother," for allowing this family to enjoy a family outing in as much normalcy as possible. Happy Father's Day!
Who cares about this moron and his moronic children. Get to work and worry about our country- poor excuse for a president.
Great story! It has been a long time since we have seen a president be a regular guy and good dad. This isn't world news but for those complaining, have you ever watched E! Television or see US magazine? They follow actors into the grocery store or out walking their dog and give it front page coverage.
Big kudos to the store owner for giving the president a "normal" experience. That was very kind of you and I am sure both he and the kids appreciated it.
It's stories like this that make us feel we have one of us as the President. Very nice, thanks CNN.
As much as I admire President Obama, this lovefest from the media needs to be toned down. Let's start hearing debates about all the new policies/programs that he and the Democrats are trying to pass.
That's just about Obama"s Brain Matter.
It's good to see the President getting out of the WH and living a little like the ordinary people despite the security and inconvenience for some. But it a little price to pay just to see the and be in the same room with the President of the United State.. This is the kind of interaction that will make it more clear to him how ordinary people live daily. Something the Bush probably never did cause they were and continue to be part of that elite, rich white party of IDIOTS.
Of course this is news, just not the usual negative reporting. Thanks for a nice story.