Meet David, a music professor, and his wife, Rose, a preschool teacher. They live in North Carolina, have two kids under age 10—and this week, they had dinner with President Obama and the First Lady.
"We knew it was going to happen, but once we were all seated at the restaurant, that's when it really hit us that this was for real," says David. "We heard the President's voice before we could see him, and we were all really quiet. Excitement was building, and then he walked in. I think we all agree that the first five minutes were really nerve-wracking. But all of a sudden it just got fun and calm, and that's because they made us feel at ease. It was a lot of fun."
Once the meal was underway, each guest had the chance to ask a question—but first, David had a message for the President.
"I wanted to thank him for his leadership on immigration reform. I told him that Rose and I are children of immigrants from Latin America, and we very much identify with the challenges that the current generation of immigrants faces, and we appreciate what he's done.
"And then I turned to my question for the both of them, which was about their time in college, and whether they had a professor who inspired them in a unique way. The President talked about a professor he had at Occidental. His story was especially interesting because he prefaced it by explaining that he wasn't always the best student. This professor gave him a B, and the President felt he deserved a higher grade, but he knew he hadn't given 100%. And the professor told him that it's not about what you do, it's about the time and the energy and devotion and passion you put into it. The President really took that to heart, and it really resonated with me—both as a former student and as a professor."
David says one unexpected topic kept coming up throughout the dinner:
"A lot of the conversation was just devoted to being parents, because a lot of us have kids roughly around the same age. So that was nice, to hear him and Mrs. Obama talk about the kind of typical things we experience every day.
"Afterwards, when we were telling our kids about it, they were fascinated. My oldest son is starting to develop his own identity politically, but really, they just wanted to hear what it was like. So we told them about things like the rules the Obamas laid down for their daughters. We said, 'See? They have the same kind of rules. We're all just trying to be good parents.'"
"That night is going to be up there with our wedding and the birth of our children," David adds. "And there was no other choice, really, when it came to picking a guest. My wife and I have known each other since we were 17. We've shared so many experiences together—we're each other's best friends. She's there for me, and I'm there for her, so to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event with the person you love, that's just how it's supposed to be."
Will his dinner with the President and First Lady play a role between now and November? Absolutely, says David.
"I think everything I thought about him and his approach to issues has only been reinforced. I've already started telling folks that he really is who you expect him to be. Everything he stands for and all of his values are right in line with mine, and I can't wait to step into that booth and support him once again. I'm looking forward to that day, and my wife is, too."
Join David and Rose—say you're in.