You may not remember giving me that hug, but I'll remember that moment for the rest of my life. It was my junior year in college and things weren't going very well for me. Days before I had lost someone special to me and I was emotionally distraught. I also had no idea what to do with my life, while it seemed like everyone else had it all figured out. I felt like a failure.
Then I heard you were coming to Binghamton University to give a speech. I was super excited but unfortunately, I didn't win the lottery to go see you. (But as you can see from the picture I managed to sneak in... Just kidding)
Luckily my brother Kieran was ushering for you and took me as his plus one to go see you speak! I hadn't been that excited in a very long time. You are one of my role models and I look up to you and I admire you. To be frank I admire more than just you but everything you represent. I feel like this picture is a testament to your whole character.
You were only supposed to go around and shake everyone's hand but you went out of your way to make me, a nobody, happy.
However, it didn't all go exactly as planned. I was supposed to ask you for a hug and anyone that knows me knows what happens next. I froze; I couldn't breathe. It felt like the longest yet shortest moment of my life.
As you walked away I immediately berated myself for not being able to speak up. While you were halfway across the room talking to someone else, I complained out loud and said, "Damn I wish I had asked Barack for a hug!" As I said these words I saw your head slowly turn towards my direction... you had heard me! To be honest I was more worried that you had heard me call you Barack. But you didn't care! Your exact words were, "You want a hug? Come here." And then you proceeded to give me a hug!
Whenever I tell this story I always make sure to make it a point to say that YOU gave me a hug. Not the other way around. This is a very important detail! Mainly because the bald secret service dude held my arms and frisked them not allowing me to hug back. It was undeniably one of the best frisking moments of my entire life.
Afterwards I was mostly in a daze, no words can explain the emotion, I'm surprised I didn't feint. It's hard to remember the next ten minutes of my life. I just remember being the happiest person alive.
Sometimes I look back at it and think about how it almost didn't happen. I'm sure in some parallel universe you didn't hear me... And my life wasted away knowing I didn't grab the opportunity. So I want to personally thank you President Obama for teaching me to always try my hardest to live life with no regrets and grab every opportunity I can.
When I read this simple account of this man's meeting with President Obama I knew that it needed to be shared.
The man is amazing.
And we are going to miss him like crazy.