Busboy who held dying Robert F. Kennedy shares senator's last words

Busboy who held dying Robert F. Kennedy shares senator's last words
Busboy who held dying Robert F. Kennedy shares senator's last words

The busboy who held Robert F. Kennedy after he was shot in 1968 revealed in an interview the senator's last words.  (Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times)

Roughly 50 years after the death of Robert F. Kennedy, the busboy who held the dying senator detailed his last words in a Friday report.

Juan Romero, who was 17 during the 1968 incident, was working on that early June night when the presidential hopeful made remarks at the Ambassador Hotel, he recalled during an interview with StoryCorps, according to NPR.

After Kennedy spoke, he was reportedly ushered through the hotel’s kitchen, where he paused to greet employees, including Romero.

"I remember extending my hand as far as I could, and then I remember him shaking my hand," Romero reportedly said during the interview. "And as he let go, somebody shot him."


Romero, now 67, recalled Kennedy's final words.

“Is everybody OK?” he asked, to which Romero said he replied, “Yes” before cushioning the senator’s head with his hands.

"I could feel a steady stream of blood coming through my fingers," Romero reportedly said. "I remember I had a rosary in my shirt pocket and I took it out, thinking that he would need it a lot more than me. I wrapped it around his right hand and then they wheeled him away."

The following day, Romero recalled sitting on a bus near a woman who recognized him from a photo of the incident in the newspaper, the report said. After which, he reportedly remembered “looking at my hands and there was dried blood in between my nails.”


Romero also detailed his first interaction with the senator, which he said took place a day before he was shot. Kennedy was reportedly making a phone call when the busboy and another employee arrived with room service.

"He put down the phone and says, 'Come on in, boys,'" Romero said, according to the report. "You could tell when he was looking at you that he's not looking through you — he's taking you into account. And I remember walking out of there like I was 10 feet tall."

That feeling reportedly stuck with Romero as the years passed. During the interview, he recalled purchasing a new suit and going to Kennedy's burial site to offer his respects in 2010.

"When I wore the suit and I stood in front of his grave, I felt a little bit like that first day that I met him,” Romero reportedly said. “I felt important. I felt American. And I felt good."

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