A morning to study in a coffee shop turned into a moment Hannah Salesman will never forget, after Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders sat down next to her Tuesday morning.
Salesman, a junior at Northern Arizona University, said she went to Macy’s European Coffee House for a coffee and to study after her session of student teaching, when the presidential candidate, who had been in town for a rally last night, sat down next to her.
“I was doing homework with my headphones in, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Bernie Sanders was sitting behind me,” Salesman said, still shaking with adrenaline after her encounter.
Salesman said Sanders walked into the coffee shop and ordered a coffee just like anyone else, then chose a seat near the side, visible from the window.
“I said ‘How am I supposed to study now, Bernie?’” she said. “And he said, ‘Don’t use me as an excuse.’”
Sanders asked her what she was studying, and she said special education.
She said the U.S. senator from Vermont then asked her to sit down with him, and the aspiring teacher chatted with him about education funding, Common Core and other issues.
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“I had just voted for him!” Salesman said. “I told him I had just voted for him this morning, and he said, at least he got one vote in Arizona.”
She said she was nervous to sit down with the candidate she had chosen to vote for, but said he was “really down-to-earth and easy to talk to.”
She said she was excited to tell her family about her chance encounter.
“I’m going to tell them I got to sit down next to Bernie Sanders and talk about the education system in America,” she said.
While the coffee house filled to capacity quickly, a crowd gathered outside hoping to catch a glimpse of the presidential candidate on the morning of the Arizona presidential preference election. Many sported “I voted” stickers, indicating they had already gone to the polls Tuesday morning. Others told their friends and the surrounding crowd they had already voted by mail.
A crowd of about 25 people gathered outside the coffee shop preparing for Sanders to leave. When he exited the shop, people pulled out their camera phones and followed Sanders down the street, as he shook supporters’ hands before getting into a white SUV and leaving.