Almost 500 people came out to hear Vice President Joe Biden's speech at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa Tuesday, but three people were lucky enough to see the day turn into an experience they'll never forget.
Bettie Arter and Cheryl Blaise work at the Hampton Inn near the Quincy Place Mall, where Vice President Biden and his staff were staying. On his way out to Bridge View, Biden stopped to greet a few people, and Arter waved him over, hoping he'd take time to shake the hand of Blaise's grandson, Bruce.
When Arter told Vice President Biden Bruce is a straight-A student interested in politics, Biden said, "you're riding with me". Evans Middle School seventh-grader Bruce Magee asked his grandma if it would be okay, and all three of them were soon in the official government vehicle, with Secret Service and the Vice President himself.
"I just wanted [Biden] to shake his hand," Arter said. "I had no idea all of this would happen."
Bruce said Biden talked to him the entire ride over to Bridge View, telling him of a similar experience when he was a kid. He told Bruce he could tell this story when he gets into government.
Arter, Blaise and Bruce arrived at the campaign event with Biden. Blaise said everything happened so quickly they didn't have time to bring cameras or cell phones, and she forgot one important thing -- tickets to the event.
"I told a Secret Service guy we didn't have our tickets with us, and he said, 'ma'am, you're with the Vice President of the United States. You don't need a ticket'," Blaise said. "I'm still in shock after all this."
The trio were able to stand just off the side of the stage during the event, and they say Biden pointed over at Bruce when he walked to the podium to begin his speech, and said something to the effect of "you the man".
After the speech was over, the vice president shook hands with the crowd and made his way back to Bruce, passing him a stamped Vice Presidential coin.
"When he was over with the speech and got done shaking hands with the rest of the people, he came over to me and he was talking to me and he had this in his hand," Bruce said. "We shook hands and he put this in my hand and he said, 'I rarely give this out and you get to keep it'."
Biden told Bruce that the next time they meet, if he doesn't have the coin with him, he owes the vice president a Coke.
Bruce told KTVO that he wanted to see Biden's speech Tuesday because he's interested in government and simply, "I wanted to hear him speak".
Bruce's mother said she is thankful for the message the vice president instilled in her son; that he can do anything if he puts his mind to it.