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.
It's good to see Obama making en effort to have balance in his life. He is an enlightened man.
As for you Conservatives... we've had 8 stolen years of undeserved tyranny from your camp and the world suffered from your arrogance and ignorance. The "normal" people are now in charge and you are now self destructing into a small, insignificant regional party. Just leave. LEAVE! Just like all you extreme religious freaks did with Britain in the Colonial years - you didn't leave Britain for religious freedom, you left because you were super conservative religious freaks and no one could stand being around you - just like now. Just leave the US. Go to the Moon.. or I hear Bermuda and Palau are lovely. Either that, or wake up, read a real science book and stop spreading your fairy tale based fear.
He didn't ask to be famous, People love him, so get over it.
He didn't ask to be famous? I think this refers to Obama, but he ran for public office. I don't disagree with the rest of your comment, but come on.
Gretchen, lighten up and lay off the sarcasm and sour attitude. Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?
No more GOP @ 10:07 am "After 30 years its obvious to most of us that the 'trickle down' economics the Republicans promote obviously don't work, yes they get their 'breaks' and are so greedy they have been taking the 'trickle up' for years as well."
– Ave. unemployment rate under the 53 months Dem-controlled Congress: 6.1% (Lo: 4.4; Hi: 9.4)
– Ave. unemployment rate under the 144 months Repub-controlled Congress: 5.0% (Lo: 3.8; Hi: 6.3)
– Unemployment rate trend PRE-2007 shift from Repub to Dem: steady downward 6.3 to 4.4%
– Unemployment rate trend POST-2007 shift from Repub to Dem: steady upward 4.6 to 9.4%
– Unemployment rate when Repubs took over Congress 5.6%; when they left 4.6%
– Unemployment rate when Dems took over Congress 4.6%; when they left ??%
Any bets on what the "??" number will be, or whetehr it will be more or less than 4.6?
HAPPY FATHERS DAY Mr. President. It is so sad that many that did not have fathers to spend time with them do not want you to spend with your kids. They will either get over it or they will move to Iran so they can complain there about the government of Iran or maybe they can go to North Korea and join the Korean Army.
You're kidding right? I bought my kids some ice cream too. Does that count?
Dear Mr. President,
Thank you for showing Americans what a father should do for their children. A simple treat and afternoon out is the best treat any child can have with a parent. Positives examples of fatherhood and motherhood are greatly needed in this country. Children need to know that they count and are speical in a parent eye. I for one think you are great and would have loved to have you as a parent.
God Bless you and your family.
Ray – you should leave. Your worker's paradise is awaiting you in Cuba. Barry Obama's dreams are being lived out on the streets of Havana. Food rationing, no middle class, no internet, no international television. But you get free medical care, marked by a declining in logevity as the result of inferior care. Even the emperor Castro had to have a bowel specialist flow in from France because there were none in paradise. This is what Barry want for us. But his two precious daughters will be exempt because they will be part of the ruling clique.
WOW!!! A normal experience for his children. I'm sure the President as he have said many times, would prefer to walk without the Entrouge, but there are sicko's like some of these commenters whose head is buried so far up their behind, they will NEVER see the light of day.
At last America has a leader who is working his butt off for ALL of us. He is giving the US the CHANGE he promised. Thank GOD!!! the positives over ride the minus's.
There is somebody saying that the day was the correct one to have some time with his daughters because of what is happening in Iran. For your information, Iran is many miles away from this country, and after all at this time we should not be interfering with Iran's affairs. But just to bring things in perspective, I remember Bush going on vacations just one week after September 11 attacks. That was really an example how concern about this country was the most terrible president this country has ever had.
It seems there is a segment of the population that will criticize and find fault with Obama, no matter what his actions. Yes, the country is in the midst of trying times; apparently that mean he shouldn't spend time with his children. The unprecedented openness of this administration provides fodder for those that wish to further their own causes. Why not spend that energy doing something useful, instead of just complaining. If you have a better solution (and I'm sure everyone commenting here has a firm grasp of all of the variables involved with the current financial crisis), speak to your Congressmen and Representatives. Heck, post your ideas here! If the solution were that obvious, wouldn't we already be doing it?
I think things are working correctly. At least this way we have an inkling of what's actually happening. Although I may not agree with every policy being made, at least I get the chance to decide on my own. The truth is out there; it's just not that easy to find. The pro-Obama media outlets show only what will benefit their cause. Which is exactly what the anti-Obama outlets do. As extremist views are rarely true indicators of a real situation, it might be a good idea to watch both and try to weed out the real truth somewhere in between.
It's nice to see the president as a regular guy, doing something we can relate to. If you think this piece is over the top, you should see how the Royals are covered in England.
you forget the fact that power shifts after the downturn begins. It takes time for the downward trend to reverse, and if I'm not mistaken, after 4 months of democrats in power, jobless claims decreasing and economy improving. Interesting that?
Happy Father's Day Mr. President.....it isn't left or right .... your daughters are very lucky to have such a smart, educated, self-made successful, handsome, capable, funny, sensitive roll model. We hope your daughters grow into leadership positions some day so that the world will be a better place for us to live. We are grateful for your leadership and your dedication....keep up the good work.
No Sue, I woke up just fine, watching my kids wish their father a happy day. Sorry if the truth hurts, Obama and his worshippers are doing NOTHING for this country. You are all like sheep to the slaughter. Bahhhhh. I forgot to mention I also had my coffee this morning, you however need to WAKE UP!
None of you have any idea of Obama family dynamics. He appears to be a very loving father and family man, and, oh yes, he was also seen in that light by....George Bush.
What's next??? A report of Obama when he needs to take a regular dump like any other person? HAHA...Can't believe this dumb story from CNN...
The President strikes a good balance between normal family life and the extraordinary expectations of his office. We should be proud.
CNN and NBC have gotten way too weird in their priorities. Give credit to the millions over millions of great dads who don't need paid paparazzi to announce what great dads they are. Give us a break.
Perhaps David Letterman can make some sort of an off color joke about it and we can compare the reactions of the liberals with the Palin/Letterman thing and see in to the mean corrupted hearts of the liberals.
Let's all laugh together.
For all you angry Republicans, what happened to family values we were hearing so much about in the past. You should be glad we have a President who enjoys spending time with his family. Lighten up!
There's nothing wrong in what Obama did here. I do question whether or not it is actually a newsworthy event except to the State Run Television Networks NBC/MSNBC. So I'm just a tad surprised to see it here on CNN.
All the chummy comments from the liberals are absolutely laughable!
First, comedic genius, wife like Jackie O, phenomenal teleprompt speaker, and now Father of the Year award. They even have a fabulous dog... This man can do no wrong...People. Let's just accept the fact that he is Christ resurrected because if we disagree with his policies, we are racist or left wing loons. All I know is there is a Tea Party in every city on the July 4th weekend and I want my tax money back for our children, grand children and the very strength of this country. If you left wing nuts want to hear something, go to one of these rallies and you will be enlightened instead of entranced. Wake up.
Gretchen: Who called the Bush girls "every disgusting thing?" As I recall, they were of legal age when their dad became president and they CHOSE to act out in public with their Secret Service escorts in tow on their bar hopping adventures.
C'mon, it's a scoop of frozen custard. What is he supposed to do with the little girls, lock them up in a convent?