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.
To all those who find this story offensive; please take time to call your children. Cook them a meal and tell them you love them sincerely.
Many of us parents would love to have our kids with us today; even if we cook them a meal instead of them cooking for us.
I know, I have two and they both sent me love on father's day. They both wanted to be with me but the miles are two far.
This may not be news to you but those two girls will remember yesterday for the rest of their lives. I received a card from my younger daughter (Hand written) she telle me how much she appreciates me for all the things I have done. She tells me even in silence, she understands and that just being with me; she enjoyed every moment.
The words hit my heart so hard; I cried and writing this post about it brought tears to my eyes.
Come on now, give these guys a break, they should be given a break once in a while; it's fathre's day for crying out loud!
You jealous Republicans should crawl back under your roc k all you have accomplished in 8 years was destroy this country and shut your mouth all you have is hot air and idiot behavior go crawl up R limbos pant leg and hide or under Anal Coulters skirt and get lost in her bottomless big pie hole nonsence .
Gosh, some folks sure get upset when other dare to criticize Obama. One would think you guys are wee bit self-conscious about this president.
Maybe this isn't hard news but it is so reassuring that any father can enjoy taking his children out for an ice cream treat in this country. President Obama is not exploiting his children and he certainly isn't a dead-beat dad, he spends a good deal of his time and energy trying to solve this country's problems and work on foreign problems also, I do believe that there should be a day of rest to enjoy your family for someone who works as hard as he does. There is nothing he can do about the photo-ops, that comes with being the President, we don't need a photo of him picking up after Bo to know that if he walks the dog he does the job, same as with the fly he swatted.
Good to see the President having fun on Fathers day.
Wow, slow "news" day. Love Obama, but even he doesn't care what he wears as much as CNN seems to.
Happy father day to all. Enjoy your children and love them. They grow up very quickly.
you guys realize what you just had a vigorous debate about. I can't believe I wasted my time reading most of them but I was too shocked too look away. There are real things going on that you guys can argue about, this story was meant for people who wanted to know what he did for fathers day not for idealogs to argue about.
Yes, good story – A father doing what a father ought to be doing! However, what is the relevance of this report? Except maybe Obama exploiting his daughters, in conjunction with the wishy-washy liberal media in an attempt at some feel good P.R. stunt? Who cares, this is not worth reporting on? No one ever reported on what G.W. did with his daughters, and that family as a unit is probably tighter than the Obama family will ever be – people that believe in God always are. Is it maybe because Hussein Obama is black?
I am loving life listening to all the Republicans whine. It is a beautiful thing to listen to all the haters complain. I am loving watching every single day of this man and his family showing that real family values have nothing to do with the conservative movement.
I'm a father and wish I had did what Pres Obama did. I'm still smiling
To Joyce Becker – Barry Obama IN FACT can totaly eliminate "photo ops". The fact that we saw these photos is because he wanted us to see them. You sound a little like the opologists for Bill Clinton when they said Monica was "stalking" the president by bringing pizza and other stuff to the White House. No one gets near the president unless the president want them near. The children are in fact being exploited.
I dont undertstand half of the commenst on this thread. It is news because it makes for a good Father's Day story, and it also helps set a good example. I though Republicans were all about family values? Its ok for Palin to parade her children in public but the president cant spend time with his children and treat them to ice cream?? What is wrong here? Republicans and extreme conservatives always seem to find a reason to hate...to the point to where it is ridiculous , un christian and un American.
And the "All things Obama" marathon from the media continues......
Lord, Republicans seem desperate to keep sounding like grumpy old men.
"Stop worshiping Obama!"
"Why is this news?!!"
"This moron and his moronic children."
Here's a thought: shut up.
Nero – I don't dislike the story at all. It is very heartwarming at a certain level. However as a parent and having lived through military deployments with one, seeing children exploited in this matter is a terrible thing for a father to do. He appears to enjoy the power and cameras more than his daughters.
If anything, I'd blame the news for publishing such inanity.
Wow, breaking news...President and daughters eat frozen custard.
I think it is wonderful to have a President that loves his children and spends time with them. I love it because I have a father tht spent time with us when we were children. He is 75 years old and still loves us. We are the center of his live as well as my mother. Only people that do not have these memories would find this offensive. I cannot wait to spend this day with my dad and let him know how much I love him. President Obama is a great man, loves God, his family, and his country. No other person would take on this job at this time in our history if he did not love this country, chosen by God for such a time as this. God bless you President Obama as you lead us in repairing the mess that Bush left us in.
@Marine.Why arent you in church with the rest of the rightwing religous bigots,instead of reading posts you have no interest in?I bet your a marine,only on your ex box I bet.Is that you TCM,hiding out and using your usual fifty names?hahaha
In the near future frozen custard will be illegal and such shops will be monitored by the HSA (Health Security Agency.) After all custard is not healthy. The natural consequence of letting the government determine your health care will be having them determine what you eat and how you live and what health care you are allowed to have. The government will have to, otherwise the system will become even more in debt than it is. Oh but I forget, just like taxes, the liberal elite will be exempt.
I use to be a republikkkan; I voted for every republikkkan presidential candidate since the early '90s. Eventually after the first GWB term I realized what a bunch of greedy, inept, hypocritical, liars they were, I pulled my head out of my rear end. My goodness, the President can't even get his kids some ice cream without republikkkans complaining. Their dwindling party is one of the "No We Can't" philosophy. All they do is complain, but offer no real solutions. Wait – If I recall, aren't they the ones who got us into the mess we're in? Yeah, that is right. The need to shut up and be the last ones to speak – about anything!
What an inane and ridiculous "news" story! Can the media be any more sycophantic to this guy???
Getting tired about all of the cute stories.
I am also getting tired of all of the hate that spews from Democrats. You are the most hateful backward looking mindless followers in the history of this country. Stop your hate Democrats.
The hateful comments made by some in this post gives credence to the term "Ugly American." To all of you so filled with hatred, I give you Aesop's "The Four Oxen and the Lion."
A Lion used to prowl about a field in which Four Oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell a-quarrelling among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.
“UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL.”