When the fairy godmother was giving out gifts to the newborn, then persistence is clearly the one she chose for 10-year-old Raani Nichols of Ocean Shores.
Against all the odds, Raani managed to meet the president of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and the First Lady while on holiday in Bali last month – and to be photographed with them.
Raani had been staying at an upmarket resort in Bali with her parents, enjoying all the activities of kids’ club, when she heard that the president would be coming to check out the site to make sure it would be safe for an international conference.
Raani decided it would be ‘really cool’ to meet the president, so she asked her friends at kids’ club to take her to the florist to get some flowers.
“They made me a beautiful bunch of flowers,” said Raani, “and when I said they were for the president they laughed.”
The president and his entourage arrived amid tight security and there was no way Raani could get close, let alone deliver the flowers.
But she was not about to give up, so passed them on to the general manager to give to the president.
An hour or so later the president was being shown around the hotel grounds in a buggy, Raani there at the ready to take a photo every time they went past.
On the last pass the general manager said to the president, ‘There’s your biggest fan’, pointing out the little girl with the camera.
“Stop the car,” he ordered, and the First Lady called Raani over.
She asked her name and where she was from, and if she would like a picture.
“I got a bit excited then, but she put her arm around me – she was a bit like a really nice grandmother,” said Raani.
Then, click, and the girl from Ocean Shores was immortalised with a world leader.
“The next day the general manager came to see Raani because he couldn’t believe she had managed to get a photo when even he couldn’t get one,” said Raani’s mother Annie, who missed all of the action while in bed with Bali belly.
But the photo with the Indonesian president may be just the beginning for Raani, who now has her sights set high.
“I did know that President Obama was good friends with the Indonesian president,” she said.
“So I thought if I said hello to the Indonesian president it might unlock something else.”
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