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.
Thank you CNN for running this story.
With all the bad news these days, it is nice to read about a Father enjoying Father's Day with his children. I think I'll take my family out for some custard also.
I feel sorry for the people who read this story and only found hate. Try finding joy in everything, you'll feel better and live longer.
pt, what demands has President Obama made that his race be in certain positions? NONE so stop making stuff up.
And, would someone please tell me how President Obama is exploiting his children by taking them for ice cream?
EcoAz, people are not upset about those criticizing President Obama. People are pointing out how stupid, petty and ridiculous Republicans/conservatives/ Obama haters are.
CNN...come on....you guys need to chill out. He isn't a celeb, he's our president.
He hasn't taken on health care or global warming, or any big topics. Once those are tackled, then by all means, cover this man eating...
"While I actually think this is a nice little story.. Let's be fair.. if this were a Palin story the board would light up with the usual nasty comments about her "parading her children out there".. AHhh the double standards are wonderful…"
That's because Palin is a terrible hypocrite who's oldest daughter is walking contradiction and shining example of failed policy.
Looks like all hillbilly deadbeat dads are after our President this morning. Ouch!
Leave the Obamas alone for things like this. Look, I disagree strongly with Pres. Obama on some significant issues, but this is his personal life and that of his kids. The reason they cut in line was to eliminate time that would not add to the family outing and that would increase the security risk. Standing in line would only make him more vulnerable to being bothered by others, his time is in great demand, and the point was to give his girls a semi-normal experience. As far as I've seen, they don't overly pamper the girls even though obviously they are privileged. Sure, I would have loved to go to the front of the line as a single mom of a hyperactive child with no outside help or support. My time was very tight, and I needed any breaks I could get. But, it wasn't a security issue as it was for the Obamas. I don't begrudge them the cost of that at all. It is true that the media treats Palin's family disgracefully and puts little halos all over the Obamas. That's very, very sad. But, don't punish the Obama girls for that. Just because the media uses their family outings to get customers, it doesn't mean the should not be able to go out. Further, it IS a good image for fathers to see. And, Obama's earlier remarks about African American fathers is based on statistics–not on race really but on far too common cultural patterns that hurt kids. These negative patterns exist with all races but are particularly dominant within African American cultures. It is very positive for our mixed race president to demonstrate healthy parenting behaviors, and that alone makes it worth the cost. Would you rather he take them on an exotic family trip or to get an ice cream, something that most dads can do from time to time?
Burger runs, date nights, ice cream outings – our ego-maniacal President can't go a day without the spotlight. Stop reporting on this stuff – it isn't news unless you want to talk about the tax dollars that he's wasting with these attention-grabbing fast-food runs.
This is getting ridiculous – why does the press insist on covering everything about Obama. I didn't even bother reading the article, but I had to comment when I saw the headline. Following up from his fly killing incident earlier this week, it makes me wonder who cares. A father took his kids to get ice cream – wow, what a story. Wake me up when he actually gets something done.
Ok, no offense but really. Where's the news in this? Isn't CNN supposed to be a news network?
Very nice, but who cares and how is this news?
So these children are moronic because they like ice cream? You're an idiot. If you want to pick on someone pick on me, you idiot. I'm ready for you and any other stupid Republican who wants to talk about the Obama kids. Barack is an adult he can take it, but the kids are innocent. If you want to take me on, go for it. I'm ready for you, you simpleton.
I love these stories!
The Obamas have young children and they appear to be very good parents. I don't necessarily agree with all the policies but it's fun to hear how the kids are doing.
Beats the heck out of murder and blood and depression/recession!
is this really news in the states?! i read the cnn website everyday and theres is articles about the president killing a fly or wear a red shirt this has to stop. i live in canada and do u think i really care when stephen harper uses the washroom at a mcdonalds please stop wasting your time on these retarded obama updates on his attempts of having a lilttle bit of normalicy in his life....
Is CNN seriious with kind of worthless pap. Barf, Barf and more Barf. CNN has become one of the most pathetic excuses for a news organization this country has ever seen. How incredibly embarassing for them. Is anyone up there in their right mind. Of course they arent. They're too busy bowing and scraping and kissing but. Thank god for fox news. They're the only ones that have any idea about what's going on.
There is a place above it all that is peaceful and happy. The yogurt visit remains the same regardlss who see it. The only difference is their viewpoint. I prefer to be happy, joyous and free so I see family, hope and inspiration. Those who live in anger and fear see it differently. Maybe Obama is fooling me, but I don;t think so. I think he genuinely likes being with people and his children in spite of how it may look to other. If I am naive, so be it. I prefer feeling happy by such simple images instead of living in anger, fear and resentments.
Anonymous – and Barry Obama is a walking contradiction on fatherhood. A good father does not exploite his children for power and political purposes. Barry Obama could have kep the camera a mile away, literally, but chose not to. Shame on him and shame on the Obamots here who think the ends justifies the means.
I'm happy to read about Obama taking his girls for frozen custard. I want to know what they're wearing and what kind of treat they ate. It's so great to have a president who loves his kids and tries to do normal father/daughter things with them, no matter what serious obligations he has. I'm an OLD WHITE LADY who didn't vote for him but I'm becoming more and more convinced of his intelligence every day. Way to go, President Obama, you'll get my vote next time!
Oh my God, I am so excited!
instead of multiple photos and stories about Tehran, how come CNN don't show more photos and stories, of congrees tax papers and how they don't pay their taxes. isn't that more important than messing around with Tehrans election. did Tehran come and tell America how to run their elections when the repubs stole the election from the dems a while back ??
"EcoAz, people are not upset about those criticizing President Obama. People are pointing out how stupid, petty and ridiculous Republicans/conservatives/ Obama haters are."
As opposed to stupid, petty and ridiculous comments from Democrats/Obama worshippers/left wing liberals? Really?
I've been addressing the stupidity of staged propaganda ops by the Prez and Party media consultants that cost a fortune.
CNN needs to address the real issues. So Obama took the kids out for ice cream and he wore a golf shirt and slacks and they wore t-shirts and pants and they paid $12.40 in cash and the little one didn't want her whipped cream
I have a real question:
Boxers or Briefs?
Oh my! This article is so lame we had to know what they were wearing!
Sound like a dad being a dad. Taking the kids out for a treat. sifto77 must not have a life to make such a comment. If he did not take out his daughter sifto77 would probably say Obama is a dead beat dad.
Today I skipped reading the negative feedback about Obama. How wonderfully he parents his daughters. A lot of what makes the man a good father also makes him a good leader.
"My problem with this is the day he went on, was during a full blown crisis in Iran. Protesters are being killed and begging Obama for help. It was insensitive of him. It had to feel like he turned his back on them, when they needed him the most. When will Obama start acting like our President? And stop going to fundraisers. Please get to work."
Jennifer, what an idiotic comment.Do you think the President is the only one elected to get things done? What about Congress or the Senate? I guess its ok for them to spend time with their families but not President Obama? Are you serious??? Exactly what do you think Obama can do today to prevent protetsors from being killed in Iran???NOTHING. He does not decide what happens in Iran nor can he prevent what happens as a result of demonstrations. You are so critical until ou cant even think intelligently. " Please go to work".....and what have you done for your country and community as of late?
This is news worthy? Whats next: at 12:22 a.m. President Obama, while wearing green pajamas, got up and used the restroom He then cleaned himself with Charmin, 2-ply for those wondering. Get real.