“I got up early, around six, and I was actually pretty nervous. I was just pacing, thinking ‘Oh man, I can’t believe I’m doing this.’”
—Luis de la Cruz gave four dollars to this campaign, and on Monday morning he found himself on the verge of meeting Vice President Biden for coffee in Durham, North Carolina. A firefighter from Texas, he brought along his wife, who he met while she was auditioning for American Idol.
“If I had a bucket list, this would be on it: getting to meet the Vice President of the United States.”
—Carolyn Gigerich has been following Joe Biden’s career since he entered the Senate in 1972. She brought her daughter, Lisa, who she helps run a children’s shoe store in Indianapolis.
The two winners of the Cup of Joe contest were flown out to North Carolina along with their guests, where they watched an energetic campaign visit by Vice President Biden at the Durham Armory. Just a few minutes later, they got their own private audience with Joe—over a cup of joe (or, a cup of iced tea) at the Blue Coffee Café. They went back home with quite a story to tell:
LD: When he finally came in, it was like talking to family. He got to know us, and answered any questions we brought up. It was super, super relaxed.
CG: We were all a little jittery. I mean how could you not be? But he was so calming. My daughter and I were taken aback because the first thing he said to Lisa was, “How’s your children’s shoe store business?” And he just made that personal connection. He knew I was her mom, so he said, “Hello, mother” and comes up and gives me a big hug. Who does that? Who gets to hug the Vice President?
The Vice President and Luis had coffee—we ladies had iced tea. He said, “Those cakes look really good, could you bring us some of those?” Then he served all of us, and gave us napkins and forks. Everything was delicious and homemade, and we were all so impressed that he served us.
LD: He served all the women first, then he looked at me and jokingly said, “Go get your own.”
CG: I had to brush a piece of cake crumbs off his cheek. I said, “Okay, I’m not getting fresh with you, but there’s a piece of cake on your cheek that I have to get off.” And he says, “That’s okay, my sister still does that to this day.” I’ve told a lot of my friends that story now, and they’re like, “Are you serious?”
LD: He’s a funny guy. I was the last one to order and he said, “What are you gonna get?” I said, “I’ll just have a coffee, black.” And he goes, “I knew you were gonna say that!” Then he was giving Abby grief about not making it on American Idol. He said something like, “I’m sorry, this is your consolation prize for not getting on American Idol. You get to meet me.” And he joked that we eat really well at the fire stations—he said, “You guys don’t starve.” I said, “No sir, we don’t!”
When it ended, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “Oh no, give us another hour!”
CG: We didn’t want to leave! It was really nice in there, and I think it was some nice, quiet downtime for him.
LD: The café was a great little place with lots of pictures of the President. Joe cracked a joke before leaving, that “next time I want a picture of me, and not just a 3-by-5!”
When he left, he looked really cool in those sunglasses. He gave me the “see ya later” look and said, “Stay safe out there.” And then he stopped and said, “I mean it.” I said, “Yes, sir.” I mean, a lot of people tell us that. But when he came back and said that, I was like, wow, he really does mean it. That was really cool.
CG: It was just a phenomenal thing, and the plane ride home was kind of a downer because we didn’t want it to end.
I’m going to start giving $25 every month, and I’ll continue through the election. That money goes to finance all the little needs for the campaign, like stickers, posters, and yard signs. If you get a million people to donate three dollars, that’s quite a bit of money for something. People think that if they can’t give the big bucks, they can’t get involved—when, in fact, they can.
LD: I’m super pumped to be a part of all this, and I’m committed to kicking in as much as we can from here until November. Giving what you can when you can is the best way to look at it. The fact that I won this contest having given only four dollars proves how much every single dollar counts.
If you donate now, you could be the VIP guest of President Obama and the First Lady at the 2012 convention in Charlotte.
No purchase, payment, or contribution necessary to enter or win. Contributing will not improve chances of winning. Void where prohibited. Entries must be received by August 21st, 2012. You may enter by contributing to Obama for America here, or click here to enter without contributing. Two (2) winners will each receive the following prize package: round-trip tickets for winner and a guest from within the 50 U.S. States, DC, or Puerto Rico to a destination in or near Charlotte, North Carolina; hotel accommodations; and tickets for winner and a guest to one or more speeches, events and/or proceedings at the Democratic National Convention, as well as the opportunity to meet President Obama and Michelle Obama, on a date, at a venue and for a duration to be determined by Sponsor (approximate retail value of all prizes $5,000). Odds of winning depend on number of entries received and timing of entries received. Promotion open only to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent U.S. residents who are legal residents of 50 United States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and 18 or older (or age of majority under applicable law). Promotion subject to Official Rules and additional restrictions on eligibility. Sponsor: Obama for America, 130 E. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601.