Omar Kbiri, Richard Branson and Lennard Hulsbos
Two Dutch students fly along with Richard Branson in private jet to Barack Obama inauguration
Omar Kbiri en Lennard Hulsbos, two Dutch college students, hitched a last-minute ride to Washington from Amsterdam on the private jet of British entrepreneur Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Airways and joined the record crowd there hailing in the Barack Obama era.
Branson was a guest speaker at an Amsterdam congress and participants were able to ask questions by sending text messages from their mobile phones, which were shown on a large screen. Unexpectedly the following question came, "Will you take along two poor students to Obama?" the students' text message read, to which Branson immediately said yes. The two students returned to the Netherlands today following their 48 hour US adventure and in a press conference said the flight with Richard Branson and the inaugural festivities in Washington was something they will never forget as long as they live. While the students were in Washington, many prominent Dutch politicians and journalists attended a special Obama inauguration party thrown by Job Cohen, the Mayor of Amsterdam at his official residence. The Mayor's staff served hot dogs and mini hamburgers to politicians from the left and the right of the Dutch political spectrum as they watched the inauguration on a big screen. The Stars and Stripes was also hoisted above the 16th century Old Church in the middle of the capital's red light district. Obama's inauguration had rehabilitated the US's reputation in the Netherlands, at least for now.