Jim Godby was just seven years old when he sat on his mom's shoulders to catch a glimpse of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in Peterborough, Ont. — 43 years later, he couldn't have guessed that he'd run into Trudeau's son with his own kids.
The Peterborough dad was camping with his family in Quebec's Gatineau Park, less than an hour's drive from Ottawa, last week when the foursome decided to go on a hike to Lusk Cave. They had no idea what, or who, they'd find there.
"I didn't recognize him by sight right away because you don't really expect in that kind of context to see someone like that," said Godby, "but I immediately recognized his voice."
That voice was Justin Trudeau.
"Out of this cave exits this fellow with some folks in tow and very excitedly says 'this is the moment of truth: do we go forward or do we stop here? We go forward,' Godby told CBC News. "I was like that's the prime minister. It certainly sounds like he likes to lead — even in his off hours."
Godby says Sophie Grégoire Trudeau emerged from the cave first, quickly followed by a shirtless Trudeau and two of their children. Sophie, he says, seemed very excited about the experience.
"She said 'anyone who's remotely claustrophobic should never try this,' and I said, 'really?' Then she told me 'oh no you really have to do that."
Mostly because the Godbys found out upon further questioning that they weren't dressed for the water in the cave — Trudeau was shirtless for a reason.
That short back and forth chat pretty much sums up the interaction, which Godby calls a "surprise meeting of two families on holiday," and while he doesn't get starstruck, his 13-year-old son Alexander and his daughter Charlotte, 10, thought it was really exciting.
Alexander even scored a high-profile selfie.
"He was really pleased he could get his picture taken with the Prime Minister," said Godby. "That was pretty neat for him."
For the 50-year-old dad, the quick encounter with the Trudeaus made the prime minister even more relatable than he'd expected.
"He was doing the coolest kind of everyday dad activity. I mean what's more Canadian than going hiking with your kids and discovering a cave?"