I wholeheartedly believe in fate, and last Wednesday’s happenings only reinforced this belief. My story begins at the Ray: last Wednesday I went to the Ray to try and be fit. They say exercise is good for you so I try my best to partake. (Free classes at the Ray make it easy to work out!) As my favorite class-muscle work- fortunately drew to a close (I thought I was going to pass out), I put back my weights and crawled out the door.
My friend and I decided to eat at the Ray after class instead of following through with our original plan of going back to the dorm and making dinner there. Alas our exhaustion and famishment dictated our decision to stay at the Ray and cool off. After eating and catching up with each other, we then slowly limped back to the dorms.
Here’s where the story gets interesting: part of Sheffield was blocked off with a barricade and official looking policeman standing guard. This was quite odd, however, my friend and I kept walking, no questions asked. As we neared the corner of Sheffield and Fullerton, even more policemen and squad cars blocked off the crosswalks.
A crowd had gathered surrounding the corner due to the commotion in the streets and we finally asked around as to what was going on. Much to our surprise and my extreme excitement it was discovered that President Barack Obama would be passing through any moment. And suddenly, my belief in fate was strengthened! Had my friend and I stuck to our original plan and went back to Seton Hall right away we would have missed seeing our own President drive through DePaul’s campus. We eagerly waited ten minutes with the rest of the crowd hoping to catch a glimpse of our President.
As we waited, a helicopter circled overhead, more squad cars kept driving back and forth waiting for the President to pass through, sirens and all, and somewhat of a smoke cloud seemed to be produced. As each squad car passed by, everyone turned their heads excitedly thinking the President’s limo would be the next car to pass. Finally a plethora of squad cars came by followed by two limos with tiny American Flags hanging out the windows.
In case you are unaware, I get very overwhelmed when seeing or meeting celebrities, or for that matter, anyone that is anywhere close to famous. I don’t know what comes over me or what exactly happens, but it’s not pretty (refer to my previous post on Jane Hamilton to really get the full picture.) I definitely should not go to Walt Disney World as I think I would actually go unconscious from being surrounded by all the characters (yes, I know Mickey Mouse and Cinderella are not exactly real, but still…). So brace yourself for my “encounter” with President Obama.
The rumor was that apparently two limos are always used when the President travels by car in order to protect the President, as no one knows exactly which one he is in. The windows are so tinted that it’s impossible to see into the car- no shadows or glimpses could be caught from inside the limo. But as the two limos passed I was overcome with an astounding and staggering sense of pride in regards to our President.
As a political science major, I have an enormous respect for our system of government, despite its shortcomings and challenges. In that moment, I was simply so proud to be an American.
As the two limos passed and I did the forever professional and classy double wave, (I felt it took two hands to express my enthusiasm,) I burst into tears. Looking back I have no idea why. I couldn’t even see President Obama, let alone the fact that I’m not even a huge President Obama fan. I couldn’t believe that the street I cross everyday, the President had just crossed!
Granted, he was in a limo with windows so dark he could have been in the helicopter and no one would have known, but I had just been closer to the President than I have ever imagined I would be. As people stared at me during my outburst and my friend tried to pretend she didn’t know me, more tears sprung from my eyes and stained my cheeks. My hair a hot mess and donned in workout gear attire, my friend told me to get it together as I looked a bit suspicious and the police were starting to stare.
Regardless of my fashion statement at the moment, or lack thereof, I will always remember the moment I saw President Obama on the corner of Sheffield and Fullerton (well, saw his car at least.)
The next time I run into President Obama I really hope I get to actually see his face, but for right now, just seeing his car was enough to make me cry : )