Charlie Thomas’ dream come true: Meeting the president

By Todd Baptista

“My wife took me down to a women’s convention at a hotel in Washington, D.C., where we live,” recalls Charlie Thomas of The Drifters. “Michelle Obama came in, and people were lined up against the wall to take pictures. I said, ‘I want to take a picture with Michelle.’

Charlie Thomas

Charlie Thomas of The Drifters. Randy Barker photo.

So the gentleman said, ‘Do you have X thousand dollars?’ I told him forget about it! Now, President Obama was coming in at 6 o’clock. My wife and I didn’t have anything to do, so I said ‘Let’s go to dinner, and we’ll come back around 3.

We got right up against the rail and stood there for three hours. When the president finished his speech, he went down to the other end of the line and was shaking hands. I had my telephone camera and I focused on my wife’s head. I said when he gets to where my wife’s forehead is, I’m going to click it. When he got there, I hit the wrong button and the damned thing fell on the floor. But my wife said, ‘That’s my husband, Charlie. He sings with The Drifters!’ He said, ‘I know Charlie right there … You’re from The Drifters? I love The Drifters!’ That made my heart feel good. It really did. I said to myself if the President knows me, I guess I’m going to keep right on singing.”

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