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An Irish girl on a J1 served Leo Varadkar while working in a restaurant in Chicago and didn't recognize him

Leo Varadkar responded to her story on Twitter.

Chicago before the NATO summit Source: DPA/PA Images

WHEN RELAXED, FAR away from home on a J1 in Chicago, the last person you’d expect to bump into would be Ireland’s Taoiseach.

However, Twitter user Emma Kelly did just that. What’s funnier is the fact that she didn’t recognise the Taoiseach.

He got no special treatment, as she tweeted that she put him on a waiting list (a taste of his own medicine from his tenure as Minister for Health, perhaps) and then seated him at a tiny table.

Afterwards, she came to the realisation that the man she had been serving was the Taoiseach.

She shared the ‘painfully awkward’ photo that she took with him.

She has since been reached out to by loads of major news outlets – RTÉ, Spin 1038, RSVP Magazine and Storyful.

Leo Varadkar managed to track down her tweet too, and let her know that the food and service was ‘gr8′.

This morning she was on RTÉ Radio 1 talking about the experience. Ryan Tubridy was eager to know about her work as a restaurant host.

Emma told him that she greets customers, brings them to their seats, presents them with menus and water and tells them about the restaurant.

Just going along with her normal routine, she met Varadkar when he entered the restaurant and upon listening to them, noticed that him and his partner were Irish.

Excited by their presence, due to the lack of Irish people to talk to in Chicago, Emma noted that they didn’t seem too interested in the fact that she was Irish, so she told them there was a waiting list so she sent them to the bar for twenty minutes.

Justin Trudeau Ireland visit Source: PA Wire/PA Images

She put them on a tiny table for two and they told her that a third person would be joining them.

She went out to the back and her friend Emer was like “Do you know that Leo Varadkar is sitting out there?” and Emma was like “…Are you joking? The Taoiseach is sitting at the tiny table?”


Ryan Tubridy was flabbergasted by the fact that she didn’t recognise Leo, but she insisted that it was just because she never imagined she would see an Irish politician in that kind of setting abroad.

Dublin LGBTQ Pride Festival Source: Laura Hutton

Leo wasn’t too fussed about not being recognised – he told her it was nice to feel like a ‘normal person’.

If you’re curious, he ordered a shrimp taco with sauteed cauliflower.

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Kelly Earley

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