As reported in last week’s Echo, Vanessa was waiting to order a late afternoon lunch when a commotion started outside. Screams and laughter spilled in as the door opened to reveal a swath of men wearing dark suits followed by a tall dark man in shirt sleeves.
It was the President of the United States, Barack Obama.
“I couldn’t believe it. He was standing right there,” Payne (nee Burke) who is originally from Ardnagreine off the Malahide Road in Dublin, said..
While many of the customers at the Five Guys Burger and Fries restaurant seemed too star struck to speak, Payne (29) was cool under pressure as she told the president she was working on her dissertation in journalism.
Payne is in fact pursuing an advanced degree at the nearby University of Maryland and is married to that school’s assistant soccer coach. She has lived in the U.S. for four years.
While making small talk, President Obama told Payne that he intended to visit Ireland.
“I gotta go,” he told her.
After her brief exchange with Commander in Chief, Payne called her father, Liam Burke, back in Dublin to tell him of her amazing afternoon.
“People were Facebooking me all day saying they had seen me on the news and online,” she said.
“I thought he (Obama) was really impressive and not caught up with himself, it was really a highlight,” she added.