Local Politics

Franklin County couples meet Obama at burger joint

Posted June 28, 2010 5:18 p.m. EDT
Updated June 29, 2010 5:27 a.m. EDT

— Two Franklin County couples shared a meal next to two international leaders at a northern Virginia burger joint last week.

The experience happened during a visit to Washington, D.C., by Helen and Ricky Wadford and Dawn and Jake Phillips. The couples often take vacations together.

The first day of the trip included a Washington Nationals baseball game. The second day began with a tour of the White House.

“It was awesome, and then things started to happen,” Dawn Phillips said.

They headed to Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington, Va., for lunch, but they soon found they wouldn’t be eating alone when the U.S. Secret Service showed up.

“The Secret Service flips the badge out and says, ‘If you want to stay, you can stay. If you want to leave, you can leave, but the president of the United States is coming here for lunch,” Ricky Wadford said.

Soon, President Barack Obama arrived for lunch with Dmitry Medvedev, the president of Russia.

“It happened so fast,” Helen Wadford said.

“We got to shake his hand when he came in,” Jake Phillips said. “He introduced us to the Russian president.”

The two international leaders sat at the table behind the Youngsville residents.

When Obama got up to leave, Ricky Wadford and Jake Phillips made their move for the ultimate souvenir.

“I said, ‘Mr. President, Can you sign our caps?’” Wadford said.

Obama signed both of their baseball caps. One of the hats the president signed was a University of North Carolina cap, and the couples said they joked with Obama about Duke and UNC basketball as he made his way out.

“We got outside and called everyone we could think of,” Jake Phillips said.

“Not many people in their lifetime meet a president or the president, and we met two at one time over a burger,” Helen Wadford said.