Washington: Campaigning US President Barack Obama was lifted about a foot off the ground in a giant bear hug by a pizza shop owner in Florida.
There were only 10 customers in the Big Apple Pizza & Pasta Restaurant in Florida when Obama arrived at around 2:55 pm. The owner, Scott Van Duzer, lifted him taking advantage of the relatively empty shop.
According to Politico, Obama was lifted in a bear hug by 1.90 meter-tall (6.3ft) Duzer.
“Scott, what's going on man?" Obama shouted, adding: "Scott, let me tell you, you are like the biggest pizza shop owner I've ever seen."
“Everybody look at these guns,” Obama said, pointing to Van Duzer’s monstrous muscles, adding: "If I eat your pizza, will I look like that?"
According to the report, the two men laughed and embraced each other.
“Look at that!" Obama said once he was put down on the ground, adding: "Man, are you a powerlifter or what?"
Van Duzer then gave Obama a tour of the restaurant.
After their brief tour, Obama approached reporters and revealed why he stopped at Van Duzer’s shop.
"One of the reasons that we wanted to stop by is that Scott has been doing unbelievable work out of this pizza shop in promoting the importance of donating blood," Obama said.
"And so he has set some records here in Florida. He has received commendations from the White House, the surgeon general, he has galvanised and mobilised the local community and he's educating kids and folks all across the country on this issue,” he added.
Van Duzer said he is a registered Republican, yet voted for Obama in 2008 and plans to do so again in November.
“I don't vote party line, I vote who I feel comfortable with, and I do feel extremely comfortable with him,” the 46-year-old Van Duzer said.
First Published: Monday, September 10, 2012, 12:48