For sure, it wasn't a long or an important visit, but Donald Trump, Jr., the eldest son of U.S. President Donald Trump, made two brief stops in Jackson on Tuesday morning, June 5.
At approximately 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Trump, Jr. came in the Bob Evans Restaurant at East Main St., then minutes later, also patronized the Jackson Express convenience store across the street at 779 E. Main St. Altogether Trump and his entourage may have been in town for no more than a total of 10 to 15 minutes, but the visits certainly caught the attention of the employees he came in contact with and later became a main topic of conversation in the community and on social media.
Trump, Jr. had been in Cincinnati on Monday evening, June 4 to appear at a fundraiser for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Renacci. At Jackson, he and his crew likely connected with U.S. Route 35 and drove on to Charleston, West Virginia, where he was to speak at a fundraiser to benefit West Virginia Republican U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey.
In addition to the U.S. Secret Service, Trump's on-the-road security detail in Jackson also included several Ohio State Highway Patrol vehicles.
Trump, Jr. was recognized in both Jackson businesses by the employees who saw him, but none of them asked who he was and he did not volunteer his identity. However, employees who waited on him in both places reported that his manner was courteous and friendly and he seemed to sense he was recognized.
At the Bob Evans Restaurant, employee Trisha Starkey was among the employees who noticed when several Ohio State Highway Patrol vehicles and unmarked SUVs pulled into the front parking lot. Men in suits who were later presumed to be Secret Service agents entered through the front door, followed by the young man who would later be recognized as Donald Trump, Jr.
Starkey asked Trump if she could help him, but he just smiled and said he was "just passing through." After using the restroom he then purchased a Mountain Dew to go, then left the store and was seen walking across East Main Street to Jackson Express.
"I thought it was him, but one of the girls recognized him," Starkey told The Telegram of her brief encounter with a celebrity. However, neither she nor her co-worker attempted to make more conversation with Trump or ask him if he was indeed Trump.
"It was really weird, but he was very nice and when he was walking away, he just smiled and waved," Starkey recounted.
At exactly 9:37 a.m. Trump, Jr. walked through the front door of the Jackson Express store, followed closely by two Secret Service agents who were wearing ear pieces. Trump, Jr. asked employee Hayley Shiveley where the protein bars were located and he then purchased two Gatorade protein bars and a Zero Monster energy drink for himself as well as other snacks for the two Secret Service agents who were with him. He paid with an American Express credit card and signed with a flourished signature that looked like "DT II" to Shiveley. He declined when asked if he wanted a receipt.
"I was pretty sure it was him [Trump, Jr.], but I wanted to treat him like any other customer and give him his space," Shiveley told The Telegram. "He kept looking at me and smiling, and I was waiting for him to say something, but he never did. But I was sure it was him."
Trump, Jr. and his group then left almost as quickly as they had come and got into their vehicles and resumed their journey to Charleston.
While some people may consider Trump's brief visit to Jackson trivial and unimportant, it became a hot topic on social media. Jackson Express posted a brief video clip of Trump, Jr. and the Secret Service agents entering the front door and also being waited on at the counter; which resulted in 13,000 combined views and 251 shares by early afternoon Friday.