DAKAR, Senegal -- It's a small world, after all, for President Obama.
At a state dinner with Senegal President Macky Sall, Obama was unexpectedly reunited with a man who appears in the president's book, "Dreams from My Father."
According to an account from a reporter at the event, Sall told the 150 assembled guests about a passage from the book in which Obama describes meeting a Senegal man while traveling in Spain. Then Sall brought a man forward to the head table, announcing that this was the person from the book, and he shook hands with Obama.
It is not clear how Sall identified that the man was the person in the book, considering Obama did not name him and wrote only that they met as Obama was playing pool at a bar midway between Madrid and Barcelona. Obama wrote that the man, who did not speak English, bought him coffee and they traveled to Barcelona together, communicating in broken Spanish.
From the book: "What was his name? I couldn’t remember now; just another hungry man far away from home, one of the many children of former colonies – Algerians, West Indians, Pakistanis – now breaching the barricades of their former masters, mounting their own ragged, haphazard invasion. And yet, as we walked toward the Ramblas, I had felt as if I knew him as well as any man; that, coming from opposite ends of the earth, we were somehow making the same journey. When we finally parted company, I had remained in the street for a long, long time, watching his slender, bandy-legged image shrink into the distance, one part of me wishing then that I could go with him into a life of open roads and other blue mornings; another part realizing that such a wish was also a romance, an idea, as partial as my image of the Old Man or my image of Africa. Until I settled on the fact that the man from Senegal had brought me coffee and offered me water, and that was real, and maybe that was all any of us had a right to expect: the chance encounter, a shared story, the act of small kindness.”