Robert Kennedy, Robert Kennedy Lopez, Romero discussed on PRI's The World

PRI's The World


His editors at the paper mentioned, the thirtieth anniversary of the assassination of Robert Kennedy Lopez remembers a asked him one question. Do you remember the photo of the busboy? It was that I kind of photo that ran on the cover of life magazine also ran on the front page of the LA times and a long time ago. And I said, of course, I remember the photo everybody remembers that. 'cause I was only ten years younger. Than one when Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. And I remember looking at that teenager, you know, squatting Kennedy's side trying to help him and I thought my goodness, he's not much older than I am. So I set out to try to find one and I found him living in San Jose, and I did the first story by one in ninety eight. So take us back to June fifth nineteen sixty eight. Remind us why one Romero was right next to Robert Kennedy when he was shot. He grew up in Mexico and the family moved to Los Angeles. When one was about ten one recalled back in Mexico being in homes, whether it'd be two photos on the wall, one of the pope and one of JFK you know, as a teenager after moving to Los Angeles, one was a little young to be politicized, but he did feel kind of marginalized as a Mexican immigrant and what he remembered of the candidates was that they spoke of Mexican people as hard-working God, fearing family oriented. So we had this respect for JFK and he found out that Bobby Kennedy was towing California in the democratic primary that year running for president of the United States. So I wanted to get a job as a busboy at the Basseterre hotel. And when he heard that Kennedy was thinking at the hotel, he went to the other busboys and he said, I really wanna meet this guy. And if there's a call from Kennedy's room, I'll do anything BUSTER trades for a month. I just wanna meet this guy. So the call comes in and one gets it with another bus boy, and they go up. And he said, Kennedy was in the room, didn't answer the door, but it was in the room was on the phone and kind of distracted and one thought, well, I get to see him, but that's going to be about it. And then Kennedy gets off. The phone goes up, looks in the eye and shakes his hand. And one said it was a two handed shake any. Remember these blue eyes of Kennedy, and he said it was the first time he felt like an American. The first time he felt like a man, and he said he walked out of that room feeling ten feet tall. So the next night, Bobby Kennedy wins the primary. He makes a speech in the embassador hotel auditorium. He's making an exit through the pantry area, and one was on duty and. I wanted to push through the crowd of Kennedy, remembered him, reach out and congratulate him. So he grabs Kennedy's hand, and here's the shots. And next thing he knows Kennedy is flat on his back and one didn't know they were shots. He thought it was maybe somebody had firecrackers and it was a prank, but one puts his right hand under Kennedy's head. The back of his head tries to let them and sees the blood on his hands. And then he realizes, oh my goodness, and one was carrying rosary dance with them. He says he had them in his pocket, and he pulled them out. And he said he shoved them into Kennedy's hand and he was then taken away was grabbed my police. Of course, Robert Kennedy died one Romero only seventeen years old at the time. Incredible. What happened to one Romero after that? What kind of life did he live on was haunted so much so that he had to get out of LA guests would come to stay at the Basseterre and they would ask to see the busboy the busboy. They wanted to have their photos taken with him. He got some letters and he said, most of the people. Who wrote to him or contacted him where you did a good thing, but he got some negative stuff to have people saying, if only you hadn't reached out to shake his hand, if he didn't pause to shake your hand, maybe wouldn't have been shot and other people thing. Why couldn't you do something couldn't get between Kennedy and the shooter and one is a seventeen year old couldn't deal with it, quit his job..

Coming up next