Imagine living through segregation, Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and thinking you’d never step foot inside the White House.
And then one day, when you’re 106 years old, you find yourself holding hands and dancing with the country’s first black president and black first lady.
“I tell you, I am so happy,” Virginia McLaurin said, looking up at Barack and Michelle Obama. “A black president, yay. A black wife.”
In a video posted Sunday night on The White House’s Facebook page, the Obamas are just floored by the centenarian’s energy and enthusiasm. In just 13 hours, the video has had 27 million views and more than 600,000 likes.
According to the Washington Post, McLaurin worked as a seamstress most of her life and recently suffered a bedbug infestation.
Her path to meet the Obamas started with a petition she submitted in December 2014, asking to meet with the president.
“I’ve never met a President,” the D.C. resident wrote. “I didn’t think I would live to see a Colored President because I was born in the South and didn’t think it would happen. I am so happy and I would love to meet you and your family if I could.
“I remember the times before President Hoover. I remember when we didn’t have any electricity. I had a kerosene lamp. I remember the first car model Ford,” she said. “My husband was in the Army. I lost my husband in 1941. I’ve been in DC ever since. I was living here when Martin Luther King was killed.
“I know you are a busy man, but I wish I could meet you,” she concluded, graciously offering to “come to your house to make things easier.”
As McLaurin joyously raised her arms (one holding a cane) and squealed as she met the president, he asked with amazement: “She’s 106?”
A delighted Michelle Obama added: “I want to be like you when I grow up.”
McLaurin said she was visiting to celebrate Black History Month. Proof that you’re never too old to be young.