Oxford car wash owner Khalid Ahmed is so certain new US President Barack Obama can clean up the world he has named his business after him.
As the world celebrates the inauguration of Obama as the 44th President of the United States today, Mr Ahmed, 30, renamed his car wash ‘Obama’ and promised: “If he needs his car washed, I am his man”.
Married Mr Ahmed took over his business — previously called Professional Car Wash — in November, just as Obama was elected.
He said: “It sounds like a funny thing to do — to call my business after Obama — but there is actually a very serious reason behind it.
“I have been greatly inspired by him, not just because he is the first black man to take office, but because I feel he is a man for peace and that is what I want to see in the world.
“When I read about what he stands for and hopes to achieve, I felt he was a very smart man and I wanted to show my support for him. That’s why I renamed my business.”
Mr Ahmed will be spreading his message of goodwill to customers today by offering free drinks and cakes.
He added: “I know it will take time for him to do what he wants to do, but I feel he can and will bring justice to the world — and if he ever comes to visit Oxford I will show my appreciation by washing his car for free.”
Native New Yorker Flo Smith, 36, and sons Riven, two, and Kieran, 10 months, are also flying the flag for Obama from their adopted home in Deddington.
Childminder Mrs Smith said: “We’re just so excited about Obama. We’ll be glued to the TV to watch the ceremony — this is history in the making.”
Mrs Smith moved to Oxfordshire four years ago after meeting her husband Martin, 38, from Deddington, at a wedding in the Bahamas.
She said: “Ever since Obama was elected in November, we have all been tracking his progress towards the White House.
“As a mixed race American — my mum is Haitian and my dad Algerian — I never dreamed this day would come in my lifetime. I hoped my grandchildren would see a black President, but I didn’t think I would. I’m thrilled and full of pride.
“People from Deddington have also been stopping me in the street and asking me about it. All the coverage does make me feel a little homesick for the States — I used to work in Times Square and wished I could have been there for the celebrations after the election.”
About 50 ex-pats from Oxford Democrats Abroad will attend an Obama Inauguration Party at The Corner House in Turl Street, Oxford.
Students and the public are invited to watch the live ceremony, followed by live music, at Oxford Brookes University’s Student Union in Headington from 4pm.