Treasure Coast Essay
7:20 am
Mon September 24, 2012

The hug seen ‘round the world

The Fort Pierce pizza guy’s 15 minutes of fame has stretched to 15 days and may go on.  I’m talking about Scott Van Duzer, owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta.  On Sunday afternoon, September 9th, Barrack Obama, campaigning in Florida, strolled through the front door and asked, “Where’s Scott?”  The president had heard of Van Duzer’s charitable work.  The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Van Duzer embraced the 6-foot-1, 170-pound chief executive and lifted him off the floor.  The hug was captured as a still photo and video clip and flashed around the world.  The image appeared on the front page of the New York Times and other newspapers.  The video popped up on countless web sites and social networks.  Van Duzer was invited to appear on national TV news and talk shows. He told reporters he was a Republican but liked Obama and would vote for him.  All this publicity attracted ugly phone calls, nasty comments on the internet and fake orders for pizza.  But it also attracted new customers and donations to the Van Duzer Foundation, which raises money for St. Lucie County families in crisis.  “There are great people out there,” said the now famous Fort Pierce pizza guy.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.