Chance run-in with first familyDickinson’s Julie Gerber and her relatives got a presidential surprise while on vacation in Colorado Sunday — they dined next to Barack Obama’s children.
Dickinson’s Julie Gerber and her relatives got a presidential surprise while on vacation in Colorado Sunday — they dined next to Barack Obama’s children.
“They sat at the table right next to us,” Gerber said. “They were sitting right behind me.”
Sasha and Malia Obama appeared to be with friends and were surrounded by security at Bistro Fourteen restaurant at a ski resort in Vail, Colo., Gerber said.
“The one friend said Sash, we’re over here,” Gerber said. “As far as the security, when they came inside, they did it really sneaky.”
If she and her relatives, Dickinson natives Lyle, Diane and Carrie Stockert, wouldn’t have known the Obama family was coming, they never would have noticed, Gerber said.
Their waitress told them the Obama children were on their way into the restaurant when they ordered.
“We wouldn’t have recognized them,” Gerber said. “We wouldn’t have known at all.”
Daniela Arevalo, a hostess at Bistro Fourteen, confirmed Malia and Sasha dined there and that Michelle Obama was also at the ski resort.
“They were here, the mom and kids, but not Barack,” Arevalo said.
Gerber went to the entrance of the restaurant and waited for the Obamas to arrive.
“I tried taking a picture of them as they walked into the door with my phone but they were walking too fast,” Gerber said. “Then I turned around and I just walked into the restaurant with them.”
Lyle Stockert managed to get a blurry photo of one of the daughters as a security guard tried to block his shot.
“She said out of respect for them, please be considerate, you know, and don’t take pictures,” Gerber said.
She also was able to get a photo on her phone.
Nobody else seemed to notice the girls dining, she said.
Neither Gerber nor the Stockerts had ever seen a president or a presidential family before.
“We won’t forget when this happened — it was presidents’ weekend,” Gerber said. “It’s pretty neat. It added to all he other highlights we had while we were on vacation.”
Other locals have also had close encounters with a president.
Carl Larson of Dickinson shook hands with Bill Clinton.
“I met President Clinton in June of 1993 when our son was a presidential scholar and this was at the reception on White House grounds,” Larsen said.
His son, Carlton, had several contacts with Clinton after that, since he was an intern at the White House complex in 1995.
“I met him maybe three or four times,” Carlton said. “Some of the work I did ended up on his desk and we’d occasionally get notes back from that.”
Carlton is a law professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law and said the internship was very exciting.
“One of my coworkers just a few cubicles away was Monica Lewinsky,” he said.