KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- President Obama made several trips to the metro during his eight years in office, and even a couple of stops on the campaign trail.
Obama's second campaign stop in Kansas City was in October 2008, at the Liberty Memorial, where an estimated 75,000 people gathered. Obama would declare the site a national memorial in 2014. He visited Arthur Bryant's that same year.
“They don’t give you notice they just say, 'hey ,the president’s coming,'” restaurant General Manager Willis Simpson said.
That visit would lead to a run on coleslaw of all things, when the iconic barbecue restaurant couldn’t fulfill the president’s side dish order to go along with his short-end ribs.
“I’m sure it’s something that we all will remember for the rest of our lives, that was special unique moment,” Simpson said.
President Obama had dinner at Arthur Bryant’s with four people who wrote him letters. One of them was single mom and business owner Valerie McCaw, who said she and her son were drowning in student loan debt. McCaw said Tuesday Obama worked to lower interest rates on student loans. She’s still paying them though, and says she hopes President-elect Donald Trump will take further steps to help students.
Barbecue seemed to be a personal favorite of the president as he made another barbecue pit stop in Osawatomie after an education speech at the high school. He also got coffee in Parkville.
Most of President Obama’s visits to the metro and beyond during his eight years in office were to address serious issues or comfort those in the wake of tragedy. He went to Joplin in 2011 where he met with victims of the tornado.
“We will be with you every step of the way,” President Obama said during a Joplin speech.
He’d return there a year later as the high school’s commencement speaker.
Obama made speeches at the University of Central Missouri and University of Kansas, and focused on jobs and the economy during trips to the new Ford stamping plant in Liberty and the Uptown Theater.
Kansas City social worker Joey Gallant recently recorded a tribute video to President Obama.
“Obama, Obama, wishing you the best as you go away,” he sings.
“It’s just meant to say thank you Mr. President for your eight years of service thank you for bringing this hope into our lives as everyday Americans and we wish you the best moving forward.”
Gallant said the recording wasn't as much about the President's policies but his historic achievement.
“This was our first black president, we are never going to have another first black president. I feel like that is an absolute milestone in our history as a country and that’s something that should really be celebrated by people of all walks of life,” he said.