MADISON, Tenn. – Surprises for Kelly Bryant have lately been anything but welcome, surprised not once by a lump in her breast, but twice.
“It was breast cancer in my right breast,” Kelly recalled.
Treatment to save her life began immediately, but this 38-year-old part-time secretary wouldn’t have had insurance unless the Affordable Care Act became law.
“Right now I can keep my insurance through healthcare.gov. Being sick is hard enough, having to worry about losing everything it makes you sicker” she said.
Kelly decided to write President Obama thanking him, for helping her get insured.
“I just wanted to reach out to him and let him know that what he was doing was good work. I did not think the big man himself would read it, who would think that?” she added.
You can imagine her surprise then when she learned the President hadn't just read her letter, he also wanted her to speak during a scheduled visit to Stratton Elementary school Wednesday to talk about healthcare.
“The plan was that members of the staff would come and get me and just help me get a ride there since it's right down the street,” Kelly remembered.
That's when a welcome surprise finally came her way.
“I just heard ‘Knock, knock, knock’ and I open the door and there's President Obama holding an umbrella! He goes to shakes my hand, and I hug him and go, ‘Welcome to Nashville Mr. President!’” she said still smiling a day later.
“And he's says, 'Would you like a ride to the event?' And I said, 'Sure, I'd love to!”’ she said.
In that moment Kelly became the only civilian to ever ride in the Presidential motorcade.
“He was like ‘No, no, no! Come sit next to me,' so I sat right next to him and off we went,” the breast cancer survivor recalled.
After introducing President Obama at the event, the President made a few remarks about the surprise trip to pick Kelly up at her home, a Presidential first.
“Well it turned out it was so close to the school! We said we might as well come by and get her!” President Obama told the crowd at Stratton Elementary.
“It came from the President, it was his idea, it was totally his idea,” Kelly said about the surprise trip.
For those who don't believe it, she's saving a signed invitation and a coffee mug, mementos from the kind of surprise Kelly is just fine with.
“Just be grateful and appreciative, and that's what I was,” she said.