President Barack Obama made two unannounced stops in Ottawa County Thursday during the first day of his “Betting on America” bus tour.
Valerie Winterfield was at Kozy Corners with her kids on Thursday when Secret Service agents announced the President’s plan to stop there for lunch. She said they searched the restaurant and the diners and brought a dog through to sweep the place. Then in walked the President.
“He sat down and ate lunch right next to us,” she said. “He was really down to earth. Almost to the point where you didn’t realize it was the President.”
According to Winterfield, nobody talked politics but instead Obama patiently made his way to everyone in the restaurant, shaking hands, posing for pictures and asking the locals how the summer was going. He even shared his pie with Winterfield’s 8-year-old son, Mason.
“It was really cool,” she said.
Mason and his sister, 7-year-old Emma, were excited but a bit nonchalant about the whole experience.
“I don’t think they understand the magnitude of it,” their mom said.
After the almost hour-long stop in Oak Harbor, the President boarded his bus and headed through Ottawa County to Ohio 269 and Bergman Orchards in Danbury Township.
Valerie Sandy, a full-time teacher and part-time employee at Bergman’s, said her workday flew by Thursday with all the commotion surrounding the visit.
“It was just surreal,” she said.
A Danbury police officer delivered the shocking news to the staffer when he showed up and asked her to start clearing shoppers out of the store. Next, Secret Service agents arrived to do a sweep of the building and the crew before the workers were allowed back in to ready for the visit. Soon after, the motorcade pulled in and Obama, dressed casually in khakis and an oxford shirt, greeted the owners, staff and a few bystanders allowed back in for the visit.
“He just came right up to us and was super nice,” Sandy said, while “is this really happening?” just kept running through her mind.
Obama did some shopping, picking up peaches and sweet corn and leaving his change — $17 — in the “Help the Bergman girls go to Las Vegas fund.”
Sandy said it didn’t take long for word of the stop to spread around the area. Locals streamed through the stand throughout the day to hear the story.
After his stop at Bergman’s, Obama continued on to a planned stop in Sandusky.