On his way to KCI, President Obama stops in Parkville

07/30/2014 12:38 PM

07/30/2014 8:08 PM

The Bear ran loose in Parkville on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama, the self-described ursine chief executive, and his sizable motorcade stopped Wednesday at Parkville on the way out of town.

About 12:10 p.m., the president pulled into the Platte County suburb for an unannounced stop. People on the main drag got just a few minutes’ notice that the president was coming. His staff expected him to stay about 30 minutes. He lingered nearly an hour.

“Trying to delay this as long as possible,” Obama said, “because I’m having fun.”

He spoke with some people sitting on a bench, then went into Parkville Coffee on Main Street.

According to a tweet from CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller, the president ordered Earl Grey iced tea, “slightly sweet but not too much.”

“Can I get you guys something? It’s on me,” he said to folks in the shop. Then he looked at one coffee drinker and said, “Somebody give him a refill.”

He insisted on buying refills for some customers, trying to pick up any tab he could.

“Everybody good?” he asked. “Going once … going twice.”

“Very surreal,” 26-year-old worker Nathan Staley said later.

Staley said he was called into work early because the shop had learned the president might swing by. Staley was dubious.

“I thought they were trying to get me to come into work early,” he said.

Obama strolled among the craft and curio shops on Main Street, stopping in Cool Vintage Watches and Peddler’s Wagon.

“Wow,” said Mayor Nan Johnston. “We’re surprised. We’re honored. Very excited.”

To reach Steve Kraske, call 816-234-4312 or send email to skraske@kcstar.com.

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