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Meeting Hillary Clinton

Hannah Kirchner `17 (Top Right) watches her brother pose with Hillary Clinton. (Andrew Harnik, Associated Press)

Meeting Hillary Clinton was the most random occurrence in my life. I had no intention to meet the Democratic nominee, but I happened to be at the right place at the right time. Grandpa’s Cheesebarn, a small, family owned store that sells cheese, meats, and candies in Ashland, Ohio, was where this all occurred.

After visiting a few colleges in southern Ohio and enjoying a trip to Kings Island, my family and I were on our way back to Northeast Ohio. My parents told me that we were going to stop at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn for summer sausage. We got off the freeway in Ashland and noticed a Perkins Restaurant right next to Grandpa’s Cheesebarn. Everyone wanted to eat so we went to Perkins. As I ate a luscious cinnamon roll, my sister, Hannah Kirchner (`17), said, “Woah, look at all the police!” I was too busy eating the cinnamon roll to care, but patrons in Perkins kept looking at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn. I thought, “What so special thing could be going on at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn?” I looked out the window in Perkins and basically saw a small army of police and black SUVs.

I couldn’t imagine what would be going on at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn. For some reason, I thought it would be Donald Trump, but I looked harder and saw two “Stronger Together” buses. My heart stops: Hillary Clinton is at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn! I immediately get a box for the rest of my cinnamon roll and leave Perkins because I’m curious what is happening.

My family and I walk over to Grandpa’s Cheesebarn and see a ton of Secret Service agents. We walk past the officers and see some normal people standing near the door, so that’s where I went.

I was in the front row of the small group of people standing outside the Cheesebarn, so I had a great view of all the action.  Across from me were countless media members and lots of Secret Service members. While I was waiting, Secret Service used a safety wand on me to check for explosives and weapons.

unnamed-2After about 15 minutes of waiting outside Grandpa’s Cheesebarn, the door opened. I saw Tim Kaine and a few other people exit. Tim Kaine, Senator of Virginia and candidate for Vice President, shook my hand and asked me my name. We made small talk and we ended up getting a picture together. After meeting Tim Kaine, I met his wife, Anne Holton. I actually didn’t know who she was, but I still shook her hand. I then met Ted Strickland, former Governor of Ohio.  Strickland and I made small talk. And then I saw Hillary Clinton walk out of Grandpa’s Cheesebarn.

unnamed-3I watched the press snap a ton of pictures and I was simply amazed at what was taking place. A person running for President and makes headlines every day was right by me. Once the people next to me got a picture with Clinton, I actually got nervous. It hit me that I was going to meet Hillary Clinton. She then came up to me and shook my hand. I asked, “Mrs. Clinton, can I get a picture?” and she responded, “Sure!” We took a picture and that was that. Clinton and her posse then hopped on the other “Stronger Together” bus and headed to Columbus for a rally, but everything that happened was so surreal.


During all of this, I actually was separated from my family. My mom wasn’t even near the door and my dad and sister were closer to where the bus was than the door. I was the only person in my family to meet all of those people and record my whole experience. I never met a celebrity or VIP before, so I was kind of happy. Later that day, I searched “Hillary Clinton Grandpa’s Chessebarn” on the Internet and found a picture of me taking my selfie with Clinton by an Associated Press photographer. The photograph ended up being in local, national, and global news. I found articles from South Korea, United Kingdom, Australia, and other countries with my selfie. The picture made regular national news on MSNBC.

Meeting Hillary Clinton was kind of cool.