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.
for the stupid masses.
give me a break please!! cnn is in bed with obama. who cares what he wore to go get a treat, who cares that he paid cash!! you are just trying to make this guy out to be normal and like us out here & this guy is the farthest thing from being like the everyday person in america. why did the employees put on new aprons for him? they should have on clean aprons for the everyday people that go there. such double standards
Why can't some people accept, understand and praise Obama's concern for his 2 girls.? What a nice thought to set aside precious time to share with his daughters. Happy Father's Day Mr. President.
Thank you CNN for showing all sides of opinions. A network loses ALL credibility with me if only showing ONE side of opinions.
this is a nice story. i'm happy for the owner of the custard shop, this will no doubt bring in additional business. i liked the fact that the owner kept the o'bama's gathering low-key.
if you'd rather read about bombings and terrorist attacks, stay on the front page.
scott ~ get over yourself big guy.
I'm glad Obama could take time out of his busy schedule of flushing the country down the commode to get a convenient photo op. What a guy!!!
Lighten up people, please. Yes this country is in a mess but are you complainers advocating everyone shut themselves up in your homes and be as depressed as our economy. My goodness, give it a break.
Sifto77, get real, President Obama takes his kids out for an ice cream and you call it exploiting them? What is he supposed to do, hide them somewhere in the White House for the duration of his term? . I think you are just trying to find something to bi!ch about just because. Just like any other parent he is allowed to take his kids out. I'm sure he would rather be like any other father who does that without any scrutiny however, he happens to be President of the United States. Whenever he goes out in public it will be a big deal. Did he parade his children in front of the cameras and have them speak? No, he took them out for an ice cream, end of story. Get over it.
It's called a "feature story" people! And it is part of the news. It's the part that picks us up after all the negativity we live with each day. Thank you CNN for remembering we need heartwarming features or the world is just too much.
The fact that it's about our president who still does find time for his family is encouraging. Some of us didn't have that as children or had to be everything when dad didn't come through for the lifetime it takes to be a parent.
Come on haters or no nothing bloggers I want to hear from you.
1) The sound of the sea water does not prevent sea creatures from sleeping.
2) Dog barks the caravane passes.
I am so sorry for your pain of loss, hang in there, 7 and half more years to go. Ouch that will so painfull for you all.
On the comments that this isn't news. In the new world, you have your choice of news. Why did you follow the link and read the story? You could have been reading about Iran. We are all bombarded with many choices online. Pick what is interesting to you, but don't complain about it being there. Your choice is counted and it will lead to more stories like this.
Personally, I think he seems like a nice guy. Cute kids, too.
lets stop reporting trips to the ice cream shop as real news!!!!! Get over it, and get on with presenting real important news!!!!! They went to the ice cream shop with dad....well, whoopty darn doo!!!!
"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."
So what did they wear on their feet? Were they barefoot?
Nope, I don't think the media and Pres Obama aren't in bed together, or that Gov Palin exploits her children, while the Obama's keep them out of the limelight.
There's a lot of hate on here. I pity the hateful people.
@Allison...."his moronic children".....very christian of you. Very christian of all of you who have nothing but hate and misery.
Get a life and you know what.....you lost and we won. GET OVER IT!
I'm sure you would have prefered the "wholesome family values republicans" in power right now.
Democrat – father taking his daughters out for a nice treat, treating his wife with respect.
Republican – caught in affairs with women...or commonly with men (but Republicans dont like gay people) getting pregnant underage. YEAH real family values there!!!
I am not a fan of Obama but this is a cute story. I am not sure if it deserved to be on cnn.com though. I would like to hear more about what Obama thinks about what is going on in Iran. He really has not said very much.
Allison June 21st, 2009 9:25 am ET
Who cares about this moron and his moronic children. Get to work and worry about our country- poor excuse for a president.
Get a life Allison! Disagree with Obama's policy as much as you want, but a "moron" he is not. Compared to the last eight years of intellectual vacuum, Obama is a sigh of relief who thinks from his brain and not from his guts.
Oh Obama's children has done nothing to you or anyone. They are just children.
Yes, this is news and I am happy to hear that our President enjoys with his family a day of relaxation, it shows that they are real and simple people, just like anyone else!
Besides, we cannot deny that they are very loved and popular!
Isn't it ridiculous that Obama was supposed to be at the Civil Rights Game in Cincinnati between the White Sox and the Reds, and is instead out getting a cone with the family? And the fact that this event gots so much press! I would like to know how many licks, what brand of ice cream and the brand of cone. PLEASE!
For all of you that thought Obama would change the face of race relations, obviously he doesn't care! Bill Clinton made it, but our own President can't?! This was a huge event, nationally televised, and for racial equality, and he didn't even show! Go figure, more empty promises!
Happy Father's Day Mr. Obama.. thanks for showing us that our children always come first. As for you haters..get over yourselves.. you sound so pathetic. Obama is a husband and father.. and his girls need him too. What a sorry lot you belly achers are.. John and Bobby Kennedy ALWAYS made time for their kids..it is what GOOD parents do.. good for you Mr. President.. we love you and respect you!!
Very refreshing article for a change. Day after day we seem to read or hear the same bad news,,,,,,,wars,,,foreclosures,,,,,,job losses. America is desperately in need of something to make us feel good for a change. More than likely this will really P___off Rush Limbaugh,,,i for one hope it does.. Thanks CNN
Allison @ June 21st, 2009 9:25 am ET
Moronic children? Is that how you always talk about kids? How sick and miserable does one have to be to talk about children like this?
I wish my ex- had taken his children out for ice cream just once. That’s one reason why he’s my ex-. You don’t just have children; you have to raise them too, regardless of your job. Happy Father’s Day, Mr. President.
Wow, Allison...bitter much? Whatever you think of President Obama's policies, I don't think you can find much real evidence for calling him a moron. And calling his children "moronic" is just flat-out unkind.
Single Mom @ 9:30 am ET "It's called a "feature story" people! And it is part of the news. "
It's a nice "social pages" story - that's where it belongs, if anywhere. It's a ridiculous story for the Political Tickler.
What is wrong with you people. Is he not suppose ti take his children anywhere. I'm sure they would like to do it quietly but because he is the President this is not possible.As a Canadian I watched as you all rejoiced when he became President (I'm sure some of you voted for him)
now sometimes I read the Blogs can cannot believe what I'm reading as you nit pick about everything the first family does. No wonder you seem to have trouble getting good people to run for office. Who wants to put up with your crap. Get a life.
Don't you people at CNN have better things to do other than reporting Obama's casual attire? Is this what you call journalism? People are dying in Iran and this guy Obama is out trying to be normal?