Hillary Clinton, sunglasses on, goes unnoticed at eatery

DES MOINES - Mrs Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is all about "everyday Americans", according to her announcement on Sunday.

On Monday, she showed how unassuming she could be.

Driving to Iowa for her first campaign swing, Mrs Clinton's van - with two aides and United States Secret Service agents on board - pulled into a Chipotle restaurant for lunch in Maumee, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo.

And no one recognised her.

Maybe it was the dark sunglasses. Or maybe she had a certain je ne sais - qui? But no patrons took notice of the celebrity in front of the counter.

Nor did the restaurant's staff know Mrs Clinton had been there, until a reporter who got a tip-off that she had dined there telephoned them.

The Chipotle manager, Mr Charles Wright, 29, insisted at first that the tip must have been false. But he offered to review his security camera recordings, and then quickly reversed himself. There was Mrs Clinton, in a bright pink shirt, ordering a chicken burrito bowl - and carrying her own tray.

"The thing is, she has these dark sunglasses on. She was just another lady," Mr Wright said.

Some people in the restaurant at the time had even noticed that a man was taking pictures of Mrs Clinton, Mr Wright recalled, but no one had wondered why.

The employees were "kicking themselves right now", he said.

Mrs Clinton's aides have kept the details of her trip fairly guarded, partly for security reasons.

They did not advise reporters about the trip in advance and discussed it briefly only after people spotted her at a Pennsylvania petrol station on Sunday, well after she had set out from New York.

The Chipotle videotape shows Mrs Clinton standing with Ms Huma Abedin, her long-time aide and vice-chairman of the campaign, waiting for their order. And it was Mrs Clinton who carried off their meals.

Mr Wright said their order included a blackberry drink, a soda and a chicken salad.

He said he was a Republican and was not planning to support the Democratic candidate, but that knowing he had missed a chance to meet her "really hurts".

"It's awesome that she was in here," he said.

NEW YORK TIMES