Less than four years after he caused his parents to miss President Barack Obama’s inauguration, 6-year-old Aiden Williams gave his family a memory with the president they will never forget.
The first-grader at Kent’s Holden Elementary School gave Obama a high-five after his campaign stop at Kent State University Wednesday.
Aiden was with his parents, KSU doctoral students Traci Easley Williams and RaMone Williams, who lifted his son out the crowd of 6,600 to reach the president.
“Aiden had his hand out to shake it, and the president said, ‘Hey buddy, give me a high-five,’” Easley Williams said.
Aiden said since Wednesday, he has been telling his friends and classmates “all the things (Obama) said” in his speech. He said he likes the Obama because “the president is good.”
Easley Williams said she, her husband and Aiden had a chance to see the president in-person in 2009, but in a slightly bigger crowd. The Williams family visited Washington, D.C. for Obama’s inauguration, but left before Obama arrived because the event overwhelmed Aiden.
“It was just too much for a 2-year-old to be around all that chaos,” she said.
After missing the president at his inauguration, the Williams family suffered a different kind of letdown after Obama’s stop in Kent. After all the excitement died down, Easley Williams realized neither she, nor her husband took a photo of Aiden with the president.
“My husband and I were so bummed when we got home,” she said. “(I said), ‘I can’t believe we didn’t get that picture.’”
Luckily for the Williams family, the professional photographers at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center, including the Record-Courier’s Lisa Scalfaro, saw the president extending his hand to the grinning boy and snapped away.
After Obama’s speech, Scalfaro said she noticed Aiden extending his arm while sitting on his father’s shoulders, and waited for the president to notice, too. When Obama reached out for his young fan, Scalfaro said she knew she had a great shot.
One of Easley Williams’ colleagues in KSU’s Department of Pan-African Studies called her the next day to tell her a photograph of the high-five made the front page of the Record-Courier.
“I just started screaming,” Easley Williams said. “I threw on some other clothes and just ran and just bought like 30 copies.”
The Williams family later learned photographs of Aiden and the president made an appearance on the Washington Post’s website, along with a few other blogs.
“When (Aiden) saw the paper, he couldn’t stop laughing,” Easley Williams said. “He thinks he’s a celebrity now.”
Easley Williams said the president’s visit to Kent made her son an Obama supporter for life. Unfortunately for Aiden, he might not be able to help the president as much as he thinks he can in November.
“I was trying to explain to (Aiden) that he can’t vote yet, but I think he really thinks in his mind he can vote,” Easley Williams said.
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