Standing behind the liquor store counter the man quietly and anonymously goes about his job serving customers.
He had arrived for his shift promptly at 3pm after filling up his gleaming silver Toyota Rav 4 with gas and taking out the trash at his modest two-storey yellow clapboard house in a downtrodden Massachusetts neighbourhood.
This a fascinating glimpse into the life of Onyango ‘Omar’ Obama, 68, the half-uncle of President Barack Obama — and an illegal immigrant who Mitt Romney had already signalled should be deported if he won his bid for the Presidency.
A regular customer of the shop where he works in Framingham, said, “Onyango Obama certainly lives a life that is a world away from President Barack Obama. The house he lives in, with its tatty curtains, could do with some sprucing up, it’s clear he doesn’t have a lot of cash.”
Onyango, referred to in President Obama’s 1995 book Dreams From My Father as ‘Uncle Omar’ is the younger half brother of the President’s late father, Barack Obama Sr., a scholar from Kenya who was rarely in his son’s life.
In the autobiography, President Obama said, “He was the uncle who left for America 25 years ago and had never come back.”
Born in Nyang’oma Kogelo, Kenya, his father, Onyango, is President Obama’s paternal grandfather, while his mother Sarah is Onyango Sr’s third wife, who although she is not a blood relative, is referred to by the US President as “Granny Sarah.”
Onyango Jr moved to America in 1963 as part of Tom Mboya’s Airlift Africa project, where Kenyan students were flown to the US to study at American universities.
His life is detailed in The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama’s Father by reporter Sally H. Jacobs.
Onyango Obama was accepted at a boys’ school then known as Browne & Nichols, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to Jacobs’s book.
Back then, the younger Obama was known as Omar Okech Obama, and he was described in the book as tall and good-natured.
According to the book, he stood out as apparently the only African student at the preparatory school, where boys wore blazers to class.
For reasons that are unclear, Obama left the school after two years and enrolled in the Newton public schools in the fall of 1965.
By then, his older brother had returned to Kenya, and without him, Obama appeared to falter.
He dropped out of school and changed his name to O. Onyango Obama, according to the book.
For a while, he lived in an apartment on Perry Street in Cambridge that became a well known meeting place for Kenyan students.
It is unclear what happened to him next – a relative described him to the future US president during his trip to Kenya as being “lost” according to the president’s memoir.
But Obama resurfaced in 1994, when he was apparently the clerk on duty at a Dorchester convenience store as two masked men burst in, beat him with a sawed off shotgun, and robbed him, according to Jacobs’s book.
He managed to keep a low profile for almost 20 years, until he steered his white Mitsubishi SUV outside the Chicken Bone Saloon last August.
Police said he had a blood alcohol level of 0.14 per cent, which is above the legal limit of 0.08 in Massachusetts.
Parimal Patel, his boss at Conti Liquors, said Obama earned about $1,300 a month and was never any trouble.
Patel said Obama presented a valid Social Security number when he applied for the job and told the Boston News last year, “He never talked about his immigration status. It never crossed our minds, he had a W-2 and everything.”