John Wernecke / Asst. multimedia editor
President Barack Obama swung by Sloopy’s Diner at the Ohio Union Tuesday to grab a Reuben sandwich before heading to Capital University to deliver a re-election campaign speech.
According to several onlookers, Obama arrived at the Union shortly after 11 a.m. and left just before noon.
Students pressed toward the west windows of the Union lobby, getting as close to Sloopy’s as possible to get a better glimpse at Obama eating his lunch.
Christian Goodrich, a third-year in civil engineering and waiter at Sloopy’s, had more to brag about than just a glimpse. He took Obama’s order.
“He ordered a classic Reuben with potato chips, a piece of Buckeye pie for himself, and then for one of his aides, he ordered an American cheeseburger with french fries,” Goodrich said.
He also said Sloopy’s staff was completely taken by surprise by the visit and was informed earlier in the morning that a VIP would be coming in, but only found out 15 minutes before Obama’s entrance that it was the president.
Joel Linik, sous chef for University Dining, also took to Facebook when he not only saw the president for the first time, but cooked his Reuben.
“I’m very proud to cook for the president,” Linik said while posting to Facebook on his phone. He also said, even though it was the president he was cooking for, he just made the sandwich as he would for any customer.
“I would cook the same way for anybody,” Linik said.
Some students in the building were selected to go outside to the Union’s Potter Plaza, near its College Avenue entrance, and Bobby Bowles, a second-year in communication, was selected to join the crowd outside.
“We saw Secret Service guys so we kind of knew something was going on,” he said. “All of a sudden we were in line to go outside. It just happened by chance.”
Bowles said he shook Obama’s hand and the president complimented him on his Los Angeles Angels hat.
“There was a bunch of people that were saying ‘I’m Republican, but this is still cool,’ he said. “It doesn’t really matter what party you are. It’s still the president.”
Rob Schuetz, a first-year in exercise science, was also selected to go outside. He said it was “personable” for Obama to surprise students and also shook Obama’s hand.
“There (were) snipers on the roof and stuff. The security guards were all like ‘Keep your hands out of your pocket,’ and stuff. It was a little intense, but cool,” Schuetz said.
University officials did not immediately respond to comment on whether the university was aware of Obama’s visit.
Undergraduate Student Government President Taylor Stepp said Obama’s visit also took him by surprise. Stepp said a friend in the Union tipped him off that people there were stirring about the president coming.
“It’s remarkable he’s been here so many times in the past couple years,” Stepp said. “Ohio State is obviously a battleground state, so anytime we get any national political attention I think it’s always great for the university. It’s great the president of the United States came here, regardless of where you stand politically, because it’s an honor.”
Stepp said he also shook the president’s hand Tuesday, but had met him before at the Schottenstein Center in May. Recalling meeting him then, Stepp said, “I got a nice Facebook profile picture with him.”
Goodrich was all smiles recounting his interaction with the president.
“This will definitely be something (I’m) going to be remembering forever,” Goodrich said. “I took the president’s order.”