A kind stranger bought a “penniless” Jeremy Irons coffee at a Prague café

The famous British actor had no cash on him when the payment terminal was down at Písecká brána.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 20.10.2021 11:45:00 (updated on 20.10.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

An elderly British couple had trouble paying for coffee at an outdoor cafe in Prague this past weekend, so a kind stranger helped them out. One of the “vagrants” turned out to be British actor Jeremy Irons.

The problem began when the card payment terminal at Písecká brána, a cafe in a historical gateway near Prague Castle, was temporarily not working. Irons, now 73 years old, and his companion couldn’t get the cappuccinos they wanted as they apparently only had cards but no cash.

A stranger intervened and bought the elderly couple their desired hot beverages, and told them it was a gift. The stranger, though, didn’t realize who they were.

“Sad British couple. They wanted two cappuccinos, but there was no [working] terminal in the cafe. And my husband? He got up, walked to the bar, returned with two cups, and with the word ‘gift’ placed them on the table in front of the enchanted couple. Well, I married him because he’s divine,” book author Milada S. said on Twitter.

Eventually, the penny dropped. “Postscript. That gentleman is Jeremy Irons,” she tweeted. It is not clear why Irons is in Prague, but the city has recently seen a resurgence of film and television production.

Milada S. added that she should have recognized the man. “I should be ashamed. They appeared to us only as dear old men. I thought the gentleman looked like the Irons, but now another man came and asked him, and the old man replied that he was. Totally divine moment,” she tweeted.

The operators of the cafe, who only found out about the incident from social media, have invited the Good Samaritan back for a free coffee.

“Thanks to the gentleman who, today, when our payment terminal was down and the British couple could not pay by card, bought two cappuccinos for none other than actor and director Jeremy Irons. We only found out from Twitter and we would like to invite this donor with an escort to our delicious coffees, of course, to us,” the operators said on Facebook.

The cafe operators also responded to critics, who said the counter clerk should have given the couple coffee despite the payment terminal not working. “Písecká brána always likes to give coffee to needy people (and they don’t have to be famous at all). And we are honored to have such great guests,” they said.

The problem with the payment terminal apparently has to do with the landline connection, which is not ideal but cannot be readily fixed since the cafe is in a historical building in a small park.

Irons has been in Prague several times before, most notably to star in Steven Soderbergh’s 1991 film “Kafka,” based on the life and writing of early 20th-century literary icon Franz Kafka. That film has just been re-edited into a new redux version called “Mr. Kneff,” which debuted this September at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.

He was also in Prague for a small role in the 2000 fantasy film “Dungeons & Dragons.” He is perhaps best known for his Oscar and Golden Globe–winning performance in “Reversal of Fortune” as well as his role in the TV miniseries “Brideshead Revisited.” Horror fans will know him from playing twin gynecologists in David Cronenberg’s thriller “Dead Ringers.” He will soon be seen in Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci,” currently in post-production.

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