They came Saturday by the droves to see the man who wanted to be president and purchase copies of his book, "Do The Right Thing."
"We had a terrific experience here during the campaign," former Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said as he signed a book and poster for two supporters at Rock Hill's Books-A-Million. "We knew there would be a good turnout and indeed there was."
With that, the man whose quest for the country's top post effectively ended after finishing second behind John McCain in the South Carolina GOP primary, walked out the door, flanked by his personnel and two Rock Hill police officers.
About the same time, Amanda Smith slipped out of the store. Moments later, Huckabee's black tour bus left for Columbia, part of his 56-city tour.
A winded Smith ran back in the book store. Despite the cold and her lack of a coat, Smith was all smiles as she flashed a picture of her poising with Huckabee.
"I like him. I love him," Smith, a Books-A-Million assistant manager said of Huckabee. "I'm a Democrat, but if he were to run again, he'd have my vote hands down. ... He's so not like the typical politician."
David Padgett of Rock Hill agreed.
"I respect him more than any politician," Padgett said. "He's the only man that I'd get up to come out and see at this time on a cold Saturday morning."
Padgett and his wife, Martha, just missed Huckabee, who stopped signing books early.
"I'm sorry I missed him," Martha Padgett said as her husband purchased a presigned copy. "He's a good, honest man."
Ginger Williamson of Rock Hill favors Huckabee's style.
"He's down to earth, and he tells it like it is," Williamson said. "I've liked him since day one."
Sharon Leaf, a book promotion representative for the bookstore, also admires Huckabee.
"He just walked through the door and said, 'Boy, something smells good,'" Leaf recalled of Huckabee's reaction to the store's brewing coffee. "He's just very friendly and very personable."
Store manager Alexis Roy said the store had 500 copies of Huckabee's book.
"We moved 400 copies," she said as someone pushed a cart of Huckabee's book to the store front.
Brenda Teppig was lucky enough to get four signed copies.
"Christmas gifts," she said.
Still, the Maryland woman who was visiting her Rock Hill sister was more impressed with the man behind the book.
"I voted for Mike Huckabee because of what he stands for -- American values," Teppig said. "He's a Christian. He said the Republican Party needs to stand behind values rather than a man. I felt like he could bring our country back to the values we stand for."
About 75 signed copies of Huckabee's book are still available at Books-A-Million. "Do the Right Thing" is Huckabee's sixth book. Others include "From Hope to Higher Ground" and "Character Makes a Difference."