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Cheerwine fan: The second richest man in the country likes Salisbury and its people

ROCKWELL — Mary Craig Misenheimer, the youngest of Jeanie and Tony Misenheimer’s three daughters, wasn’t a bit surprised when she found herself in the same elevator in Omaha, Neb., with Warren Buffett.

And she knew he was the second richest man in the country.

But whenhe offered her a Cheerwine …

Well, she’ll never forget it.

She was in Omaha and met Buffett because her finance class at East Carolina University, where she graduated last Saturday, went to Omaha.

They knew they’d meet him. Every year, he brings groups of college students into Omaha, where he was born and has lived all his life and where the home offices for his legendary Berkshire Hathaway company are located.

“That’s the big stock,” she says, probably the biggest in the country, next to Bill and Melissa Gates holdings. Buffett announced earlier this year that he was leaving the major portion of his stock to charity and the Gates Foundation, which is a charity.

He allows college groups who are preparing to join the business world to come there sometime during the year and have lunch and a question-and-answer session.

The students can ask anything they want.

“And my finance class puts its emphasis on investments, and we got to tour Berkshire Hathaway… ,” Mary Craig says. “He was a very interesting speaker and very friendly.”

And when that session ended, they walked down a little set of stairs to get to the elevator, “and he was talking to a lady, and he mentioned Salisbury, and he asked her where she was from and was she near Salisbury.

“And I said, ‘I’m from Salisbury,’ ” she says, and he turned to talk to her, “and he mentioned the Stanbacks and Cheerwine and the Ketners and the Salisbury Post, and he told me, ‘Tell everybody hello. They’re fine people.’ ”

By then the elevator stopped, but he wasn’t through.

He turned to Mary Craig and said, “Oh, I have something for you.”

“And he ran back to his office and came back with a can of Cheerwine,” she says, “and I still have it.”

Did he bring others in the elevator Cheerwine?

“Just me,” Mary Craig says, “and he told me to tell everybody in Salisbury, ‘Hello.’ And then he mentioned he and his wife were getting ready to fly out to California to play bridge with Bill Gates and his wife.”

Before she left Omaha for the return trip to Greenville, N.C., to get her diploma, she learned one share of Class A Warren Buffett stock was selling for $109,000.

Wow!

But the man whose name is on it, she says, is very down to earth, “and he just lives in a normal modest house that’s nothing like a big mansion.”

Meeting Warren Buffett was a real highlight of the trip for her, her mother says, “and people in Salisbury ought to know that Cheerwine stretches across the world and into big circles.”

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Contact Rose Post at 704-797-4251 or rpost@salisburypost.com.

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