(Photo: Larry Downing/Reuters)
President Barack Obama recently received an unexpected lift from a supportive, and rather buff, pizzeria owner in Ft. Pierce, Fla., on Sunday, and a photo capturing the moment has been making the rounds on the Internet.
Obama entered the Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Restaurant in Ft. Pierce around 2:55 p.m. Sunday while only 10 customers were in line for their food.
As Obama entered the restaurant, the ecstatic owner of the restaurant, Scott Van Duzer, approached the POTUS. Van Duzer told reporters that he is a registered Republican, but voted for Obama in 2008 and plans to do so in 2012.
Obama and Van Duzer joked back and forth about Duzer's size. The 46-year-old of Port St. Lucie, who is 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 260 pounds, told the president that he can bench press 350 pounds.
"Everybody look at these guns," Obama, who weighs a reported 180 pounds, joked prior to the bear hug, pointing to Van Duzer's large muscles.
"If I eat your pizza, will I look like that?" Obama questioned.
Then in an impulsive move of appreciation, Van Duzer lifted the Commander-in-Chief about one foot off the ground in a ceremonious bear hug.
"Man, are you a power lifter or what?" Obama asked an eager Van Duzer.
After the impromptu bear hugh, Obama received a short tour of the restaurant and explained to reporters why he chose to visit Van Duzer at his establishment.
"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 told reporters, according to Politico.
"And so he has set some records here in Florida. He has received commendations from the White House, the surgeon general, he has galvanized and mobilized the local community and he's educating kids and folks all across the country on this issue," the president added.
"So here's an example of somebody who is doing well but he's also giving back. So, we just want to say how proud we are of him. I still wonder how he got these biceps, but what we know is that the guy's just got a big heart along with big pecs. So, we're very proud of him and we just want to say thank you for all the great work," he concluded.
Van Duzer, who told reporters he played football and baseball in high school, said he was "just overcome with excitement" when he saw president Obama entering his establishment.
According to CBS News, Van Duzer, who has worked at the pizza shop since it opened when he was 16 years old, was told about Obama's planned visit 40 minutes prior to his arrival, and rushed from the golf course to meet the Commander-in-Chief.
After speaking at the Democratic National Convention this past week, President Obama has been making his rounds throughout the country on his continued campaign tour for the Nov. 2012 presidential election.