DENISON, Iowa | When Steven Holt arrived at work Monday, he joked with his daughter that she might get to meet the president later that day.
It was no secret that President Barack Obama's motorcade would be passing through Denison in the afternoon. About 90 minutes before he was scheduled to pass through town, a White House representative came to Holt's snowcone stand, Tropical Sno, and asked Holt if he minded if the president, a known shaved ice aficionado, stopped by.
A lifelong Republican and retired Marine, Holt said he wasn't going to turn down the chance to serve the president of the United States, even if their political beliefs may differ.
"He is my president, and it was my honor to serve him," Holt said.
Holt called his 15-year-old daughter, Angel, down to wait on the president, who ordered a “rainbow” flavored snowcone of cherry, lime and watermelon. He was impressed with Holt's work.
"This is a finely shaved ice. Outstanding," Obama said, noting what the locals in his native Hawaii call the frozen treat.
Obama even offered to buy snowcones for some in the crowd. Local elementary student Dawson Evers took him up on his offer.
"It was awesome," the 10-year-old said. "I never thought I'd get to meet the president."
Holt said Obama spent at least half an hour talking with everyone who gathered to see him.
"It seemed to me that the president simply wanted shaved ice. He didn't talk politics unless someone asked him about it," Holt said. "I found the president to be gracious, sincere and genuine."
Obama is on a three-day bus tour across Iowa, making stops in Council Bluffs, Boone, Oskaloosa, Marshalltown, Waterloo, Dubuque and Davenport.