Menu
Share
Share this story
Close X
 
Switch to Desktop Site

Dancing with the Obamas: Watch a 106-year-old celebrate a White House visit

When Virginia McLaurin finally met President Obama and the first lady, the centenarian beamed and danced. 

View video

Virginia McLaurin, a 106-year-old woman, finally met President Obama and Michelle Obama this past week at the White House.

Reuters

View photo

It's not every day that a woman who's worked most of her life as a seamstress gets to meet the president.

And it's not every day that the leader of the free world gets to tango in the Oval Office with an exuberant 106-year-old bubbling with brio.

About these ads

But that's exactly what happened over the weekend when Virginia McLaurin finally met President Obama and the first lady: The centenarian beamed and boogied with sheer joy, in a moment that enchanted the first couple and the world, immediately going viral on the Internet.

What's the secret to still dancing as a centenarian? You can see Mrs. McLaurin fulfill her dream of visiting the White House and meeting President Obama this past week. 

As soon as she catches sight of the President, Ms. McLaurin outstretches her arms, chortles with glee, and does a little victory shimmy in the Oval Office, in a video posted Sunday evening by the White House that, as of Monday mid-morning had more than 27 million views, almost 600,000 likes, and almost 480,000 shares.

“Hi!” she exclaims. “It’s an honor. It’s an honor.”

The spry centenarian shuffles across the room to meet Mrs. Obama.

“She’s 106!” the president tells Michelle.

“No, you are not!” the first lady exclaims, adding: “I want to be like you when I grow up.”

About these ads

Then the trio holds hands and dances.

“She’s dancing,” the president says, laughing. “So what’s the secret to still dancing at 106?”

In response, the radiant 106-year-old keeps be-bopping.

"Just keep moving," Mrs. Obama answers.

It wasn't clear who was more delighted with the encounter, McLaurin or the first couple.

Of course, not everyone who wants to meet the president gets that once-in-lifetime chance.

But McLaurin isn't just anybody.

McLaurin was born in South Carolina in 1909. In 1941, she lost her husband and moved to Washington, D.C. where she has worked as a seamstress most of her life. 

She has lived through 18 presidents, two world wars, racial segregation – and now, the nation's first black president.

“One of my secrets for longevity is reading the Bible and praying daily, loving Jesus Christ, and my fellow man,” McLaurin said in 2014, according to the Washington Post. “There’s no one that I don’t like; I love everybody.”

In December 2014, McLaurin submitted a petition to the White House asking to meet with the president.

“I’ve never met a President,” she wrote. “I didn’t think I would live to see a Colored President because I was born in the South and didn’t think it would happen. I am so happy and I would love to meet you and your family if I could.

“I remember the times before President Hoover. I remember when we didn’t have any electricity. I had a kerosene lamp. I remember the first car model Ford,” she said. “My husband was in the Army. I lost my husband in 1941. I’ve been in D.C. ever since. I was living here when Martin Luther King was killed.

“I know you are a busy man, but I wish I could meet you,” she concluded.

McLaurin's wish was fulfilled on Feb. 18, when she was among the guests who joined the president and first lady for a reception celebrating Black History Month at the White House.

It's unlikely she – or the Obamas – will forget her visit anytime soon.

“I thought I would never live to get in the White House,” McLaurin said, gazing up at the president.

“I tell you, I am so happy,” she said, elated. “A black president, yay, and his black wife.”