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Watch President Obama Spring a Mother's Day Surprise on 3 Moms

May 10, 2015

Three mothers got a totally unexpected Mother's Day gift this year: a surprise phone call from President Obama.

"I decided on Mother's Day I should call up some letter writers and moms, and say thank you for being great moms," Obama explains to a stunned mother in a video shared Sunday by the White House. "You're one of the moms I want to say thank you to. You still don't believe me."

The lucky three, who hail from Minnesota, Arizona and Florida, had each written letters to Obama over the past year thanking him for supporting a higher minimum wage and for signing the Affordable Care Act in March 2010.

"I know how tough it is to raise kids and do right by them. If it hadn't been for my mother, I certainly wouldn't be here," said Obama, whose own mother, Ann Dunham, died of cancer in 1995. "You're doing the most important work there is."

Life Before Equal Pay Day: Portrait of a Working Mother in the 1950s

Jennie Magrill with her family in the background.
Jennie Magill with her family in the background.Grey Villet—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Jennie Magrill with her family in the background.
Working mother Jennie Magill shopping with her children at the super market.
Jennie and Jim Magill in the kitchen.
Jennie Magill and family in the kitchen.
Wifely kiss is Jim's reward for helping with the dishes.
Jennie Magill at work.
Companionable lunch with the girls from store is lots better, says Jennie, than a sandwich in solitude at home. "Through Jennie's friends at work," says Jim, "I've met a lot of people I wouldn't have met otherwise."
Her work is a source of pride to Jim. "She' has done a terrific job. And when i tell her about my work she doesn't brush it off."
Going home, Jim always picks Jennie up at Carson Pirie Scott branch. The ride home is a chance to talk without domestic distractions.
Jennie and Jim Magill coming home from work.
Taking over the family reins when she gets home, Jennie holds Jackie, 2, who tests cake which he "helped" housekeeper Sophia Flewelling (left) to bake. Sophie runs household smoothly while parents are gone.
Jennie Magill and family.
Jennie Magill ironing with her daughter.
Jennie Magill with her children.
Jennie Magill comforting her crying daughter.
Jennie Magill with her children.
Jennie Magill reading a story to her children.
Bill-paying is disagreeable, but it reminds them of how well they live because Jennie works. "It's nice not to have that lost feeling," says Jim. "Now when we see a piece of furniture we want, we buy it."
Jennie Magill kisses her children goodbye.
Jennie Magill with her family in the background.
Grey Villet—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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