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Juan Romero
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    (June 1950-October 1, 2018)
    Born in Mexico
    Former resident of Los Angeles, California
    17 year-old high school student, at the time employed as a busboy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles
    Family had moved north from Mexico when he was ten years old, in 1961
    Witnessed the assassination of Presidential candidate, Robert Francis 'Bobby' Kennedy, shortly after shaking his hand (June 5, 1968)
    Depicted cradling the wounded Bobby Kennedy on the floor in Boris Yaro's iconic photograph taken immediately after the shooting
    He got the busboy job through his stepfather, who was a waiter at the same hotel.
    He fixed it so that he got Bobby Kennedy's room service order which was originally intended for another busboy, so he could shake the candidate's hand.
    He claims to have heard Kennedy speak to him shortly after he was shot, repeatedly asking 'is everybody ok?'
    He initially refused to wash after the shooting, even showing up at school the next day with Kennedy's blood under his fingernails.
    He eventually quit the Ambassador because people kept asking to get their picture taken with him.
    He got so fed up with the unintended publicity that came with the photo that he left Los Angeles altogether and moved to Wyoming, eventually settling in San Jose.
    He was convinced, for years after the event, that if he hadn’t stuck out his hand to shake Kennedy's hand for a second time, as he exited the hotel, maybe the candidate wouldn’t have been gunned down.
    The bullet that hit Kennedy only narrowly missed Romero's shoulder.
    He admitted to cradling Bobby Kennedy because he 'wanted to protect his head from the cold concrete.'
    He testified against Sirhan Sirhan at his murder trial (Feb. 15, 1969).
    He experienced survivor's guilt (understandably), to the point where he wouldn't even celebrate his own birthday for years.
    He had reportedly been a fan of RFK ever since he made the pilgrimage to break bread with Cesar Chavez in March of 1968.
    He said about shaking RFK's hand for the first time, 'He shook my hand as hard as anyone had ever shaken it. I walked out of there 20 feet tall, thinking, 'I'm not just a busboy, I'm a human being.' He made me feel that way.'
    He was humble; telling a reporter shortly after the shooting, 'I did nothing. It just happened. Mr. Kennedy was there and he needed someone with him, that's all.'
    He slipped the rosary into Sen. Kennedy's hand, which he famously clutched as he was dying. When Kennedy couldn't hold the rosary, he wrapped the beads around his thumb.
    He received hate mail from people either blaming him for Kennedy's death or arguing that he should have taken the bullet himself.
    He made it a point to annually visit the RFK Memorial in St. James Park in San Jose with flowers on the anniversary of the assassination.
    The almost angelic image of Romero, a diminutive, frightened teenager cradling a wounded Kennedy, captured the heartbroken mood of the nation very much the same way Jackie Kennedy's blood-stained dress photos did in the aftermath of the JFK assassination.
    He confronted the trauma he experienced by visiting Bobby Kennedy's gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery, with his daughter, where he knelt, paid his respects and wept emotionally (November 26, 2010).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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