Random Thoughts on My Dinner with the President
President Obama visited Kansas City on July 29 and 30 to speak about the economy. On his way to the podium, he chowed down with four pen pals at Arthur Bryant's. One of them was Valerie McCaw, an entrepreneur who has worked with the UMKC SBTDC.
Not many folks get to chat with the President of the United States--or steal fries off his plate. In her own words, here are Valerie’s random observations on having dinner with a world leader.
- He was very personable and looked just like he does on TV.
- He ate all the ribs on his plate from Arthur Bryant’s. He drank water.
- Becky [another letter writer who joined the foursome] and I got to eat French fries off his plate.
- They are very very security conscious. They took away our cell phones and cameras before we went to dinner. Dogs and lots of military looking guys in khakis with cords in their ears. They look even more intimidating when they are wearing black suits.
- There were just four of us and him at a table in Arthur Bryant’s back room. We really did order and eat dinner. There were other dinner customers there that he shook hands and had photos with. (One was a high school girl’s softball team.)
- He knew about us and had read our letters and we had a very nice discussion on domestic issues, mostly student loans, education in general, alternate education options for high school kids, community service, STEM importance.
- I did tell him that I just recently received an SBA loan and gave him a high five. He congratulated me for working with the SBA team.
- He asked if we had any questions – I asked him how he handled the pressure. He said he took the long view on things and that helped. He had dinner hour every night with his family and that gave him perspective. He also said he worked out every day. He said he had faith that helped him through the tough times.
- He said he liked having daughters a lot – they were special.
- He was not intimidating at all to me.
- He told me to tell Kevin –“Keep your grades up. – Tell him Obama said so.” He took a photo of him holding Kevin’s picture so Kevin could have a memory, too.
An additional edit:
President Obama also stopped by Parkville Coffee
on his way out of town. (Would it be absolutely shameless to note they played in last year's Battle of the Brands. Probably.) He even made a video scrapbook
of his time on the streets of Parkville.