You’d think if anyone had the sort of face which would be instantly recognizable in every corner of the globe it would be the President of the United States of America.
Yet during a flying visit to the Mount Pleasant Primary School in Wales, Barack Obama was mistaken for an ice cream seller.
Obama was visiting the school in Newport, alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron, ahead of the Nato summit at the nearby Celtic Manor – home of the 2010 Ryder Cup.
Pupils at the school were left shell- shocked as scores of police officers and the presidential convoy turned up mob handed to herald Obama’s arrival.
Striding into the school like an elder statesman, Obama greeted the baffled and slightly bemused school kids in their native tongue with the words ‘bore da’. Which when translated into English means ‘good morning’.
The smiling Mount Pleasant Primary School youngsters then gave the American President a thank-you message. Congratulating him on being the first serving U.S. President to visit Wales.
Yet despite the children encouraging Obama to return to Wales whenever he felt like a round of golf at the nearby Celtic Manor, one pupil at the school, Ben Thornton, was dubious as to if they’d see Obama visit their neck of the woods again.
In a slightly confused tone of voice, young Ben added:
“I think he wants to sell ice cream or something.”
No doubt being mistaken as an ice-cream seller came as a little light relief for Obama who is busy discussing the situation in Iraq as well as the stand-off with Russia over Ukraine, alongside other world leaders at the Nato summit.
There are 9,500 police officers from 43 forces involved in the security operation for the event, along with 12 miles of security fencing.
Children at the 230-pupil school wrote postcards to leaders attending the summit expressing what they would like to see changed in the world by the time they are adults.
Mount Pleasant Primary School Deputy headteacher Andrew Rothwell said the day would be one staff and pupils would never forget.
He told ITV News:
“When we found out that the visit would involve the US President and the Prime Minister everyone was gobsmacked
“It’s been a real pleasure to host Barack Obama and David Cameron. As you can see, the children have not stopped smiling. It’s given them a tremendous sense of pride. We feel incredibly lucky to have been chosen for the visit.
“It’s quite funny how it came about because in July we tweeted a picture to Nato’s account with a drawing the children had done of the Nato logo asking for a VIP visit.We then later formally applied to host a Nato-themed event at our school, but had no idea as to what it would be.
“I don’t know if the tweet helped or not, but when we found out that the visit would involve the US President and the Prime Minister everyone was gobsmacked.”
Pupil Ben Thornton told ITV News afterwards:
“I was really, really scared, but my mum and dad said Obama’s just an ordinary guy!”