Man, overwhelmed, gives Obama bear hug - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Man, overwhelmed, gives Obama bear hug

FORT PIERCE, FL (WFLX) - On the way to Palm Beach County from his campaign stop in Kissimmee Sunday, President Barack Obama made an unannounced visit to a Fort Pierce restaurant surprising the owner of Big Apple Pizza.

But it is how the owner of the restaurant greeted the president that caused the visit to go viral, catching attention from around the world.

Overcome by emotion, owner Scott Van Duzer did something to the president that no one in history may have ever done.

When the president walked into Big Apple Pizza Sunday afternoon, he called Van Duzer by name, slapping his hand as if they were old friends. "In the clearest day, I don't think anyone is going to say that the president is going to walk in here," said Van Duzer. "It was that he just walked in and said, 'Hello'. He came in and said, 'Where's Scott?' And I was like 'Oh no, here I am' and brought it."

Van Duzer not only brought it, but he did something that could be a first in American history. "That's the old bear hug. I grabbed him and picked him up," said Van Duzer.

Weighing in at 260 pounds, Van Duzer and his 6' 3" frame picked up and left the president with his feet dangling.

Instant panic for U.S. Secret Service who are trained for just about everything but maybe not bear hugs.

"They took a couple steps but I put him right back down. It's not like I was going to carry him out or take him anywhere," said Van Duzer.

The hug was not a big hit among the protectors for the president. Worldwide, Van Duzer's presidential grasp is catching attention.

The restaurant stayed busy throughout Sunday with a flurry of customers wanting to know what it was like.

Van Duzer said the president told him he wanted to stop by, meet him and recognize him because of his charitable work with the Van Duzer Foundation. Every month, the restaurant raises money to help one family and also holds numerous blood drives.

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