It's not every day that people get to see their favorite celebrities out in public, let alone get a chance to chat or take a picture with them. These people share the most memorable experience they had when they met their all-time favorite celebrity in public. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
Rest In Peace Robin Williams
“Out of the blue, Robin Williams walked into my bicycle shop one night. It was a little after seven pm on September 16th, 2008, and I had just closed my shop. I was going to work on a few bikes for a while, so I left the Dutch door open. That was when I caught the Range Rover pulling up in front of the shop. A few minutes later, there was a knock on the door.
When I looked up, Robin Williams was leaning over my Dutch door and peering into my shop.
‘Wow! What a nice selection of vintage bikes you have,’ Williams said, as I quickly rose from my desk and began moving towards the door.
‘I have some time before my show at Bimbo’s and saw your door was still open. Do you mind if I come in and check out your shop?’ he asked.
My excitement was tempered, as I knew he was a bicycling fan and collector. Plus, what was before me was not the Robin Williams of jest and mirth. The man before me was quiet, polite, and focused on one thing: bicycles.
After inviting him into the shop and shaking his hand, we began talking about the bikes in the shop. In the midst of all this, I couldn’t help but blurt out, ‘Mr. Williams, it’s about time you showed up! What took you so long?’
‘The times I have come by, you were closed and I had to look in the window,’ Williams said, as he chuckled.
For the next hour, all we talked about was bicycles. I told him about Rosebud, a specific type of bike, and how I had come up with the name for the shop. He was looking for a vintage Colnago, so I showed him the 1970s Masi track bike that was hanging above his head. I brought her down from the ceiling and placed her in the bike repair stand in the middle of the shop.
‘She’s a beauty!’ Williams yelped.
He had moved closer to my desk, where he saw my ‘Darwin Ape Thinking’ bronze sculpture and the necklace that hung from its neck.
’54 years of sobriety?’ Williams asked with astonishment. ‘Are you in AA? Did someone give you this chip?’
‘It was my father’s,’ I said, a bit somberly. ‘He passed away last year. He’s one of the reasons I started this shop.’
Williams was now sitting in my chair, holding the monkey in his hands and looking closely at the 54-year chip. There was a story that I needed to tell about my father, and it seemed I was meant to share it with Robin Williams.
‘I was born and raised in San Jose, but my dad’s hometown was Aberdeen, Washington,’ I told him. ‘Every summer, my father would pack up the station wagon and we would head north to visit. These road trips were pretty epic.’
‘After my father passed away, I was holding his cremated remains when the idea of taking one last road trip popped into my head. So, I took that chip you have in your hands,’ I told him. ‘Then, with one of his pictures and the box with his ashes, I put them all in a little bag and I headed north.”
‘It was near dusk when I entered Washington, and with no cars in sight, I began to accelerate. Glancing over at my passenger seat to make sure my dad was safely buckled in, I pushed down on the accelerator and hit 100 miles per hour. My father did not say a thing,’ I said, as I smiled and looked over at Williams.
‘You got pulled over?’ he asked.
I said, ‘I got pulled over by a Washington State Trooper in the boonies, 125 miles from Aberdeen. He had been on the top of the grade, sitting and waiting for some joker like me. Less than a minute after I passed him, he quickly spun around, and I heard the siren.’
I continued, ‘The trooper asked, ‘Do you know how fast you were traveling? Are you in a hurry to get somewhere?”
I said, ‘Instead of trying to come up with a witty response to his question, I decided to be straightforward. I told him, ‘I am taking my dad to Aberdeen for his last AA meeting. I didn’t want him to miss it.”
‘What? What do you mean his last AA meeting?’ Williams asked.
I said, ‘Funny, that’s the same thing the trooper asked. He scanned the back of my station wagon to make sure I was alone and asked me where my dad was. I pointed to the brown paper sack in my passenger seat. ‘If we are late, I doubt he will say anything about it,’ I continued, and I took out my dad’s picture to show him.”
‘No!’ Williams shouted in disbelief.
‘Oh yeah, I did!’ I exclaimed.
‘He let you go?’ Williams asked.
‘Yeah, kind of cool, huh? My dead dad got me out of a speeding ticket! I figured I had to take him to an AA meeting, right?’
‘Darn straight. He earned the meeting,’ Williams said, with a sly grin.
It was getting close to the time when Williams needed to be at Bimbos. As he began walking to the door, I gave him a ‘Rosebud was a bike’ shirt, hoping he would wear it at his show. He tried to pay for it, but I refused and just asked him not to be a stranger. As Williams pulled away from the shop, I found myself smiling and thinking, Robin Williams is a regular guy.”
“Growing up as a child before the Simpsons or Family Guy, one of our family standards was ‘Married With Children’. It was such a blue comedy delight that we looked forward to each new episode with a touch of glee in our twisted humorous hearts. Fortunately, one day I met Al Bundy, yes that’s right, the actor Ed O’Neill.
I was working at a very popular music venue in Seattle that was called ‘Moe’s Moroccan Cafe’ in which many bands and celebrities frequented during my tenancy. One night, as I roamed around the club, I was informed that the upstairs was strictly VIP for the night as it was a cast party for the movie ‘Prefontaine.’
So when the band finished and was striking the stage for the next act, they were loading out the side door upon Pike Street and I was monitoring their gear outside as well as making sure nobody headed downstairs who did not have the proper credentials. As this was happening my focus was so intent on what was happening, my peripheral attention was open but not direct.
This man with large, nice dress shoes approached me and said, ‘Say, buddy, do you know where Moe’s is?’
Without looking up I said, ‘Yeah man, you’re here. All you have to do is go around the corner and enter through the stone clown archway and you’re all good.’
He repeated my instructions and I confirmed them pointing down the block without looking up. Then he placed his warm heavy hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Thanks buddy, I appreciate it.’
Now when someone touches me, I will always make eye contact with that person. I looked up and there he was.
I exclaimed, ‘Holy mole! Al Bundy! Get outta here! You’re Al Bundy!’
He laughed and said, ‘Well yes, I guess I am.’
Immediately I said, ‘Dude, forget what I just said. You go right through this door into the showroom, walk across the floor out that door, and make a right. Once up the stairs, you will be exactly where you need to be.’
He chuckled and asked, ‘What’s your name?’
I told him, but before he could tell me his name I said, ‘I know your name is Ed O’Neill but you will forever in my heart be Al Bundy. I watched you go from having a full refrigerator of food down to Tang and toothpaste sandwiches with the same carton of milk going in and out of the fridge. I love you, my man.’
He laughed, thanking me again and placing his large mitt upon my shoulder with a gentle rub. Then he entered the showroom a bit bewildered, looking back at me making sure he was following my directions which I was smiling back at him, nodding with confirmations in his movements. And then he was gone.
As the night progressed and I did my rounds, we exchanged smiles and eye contact as I floated through the cast party area on occasion until many hours later when I was covering for my buddy as our doorman extraordinaire. While covering the position, Ed came down the stairs through the bar and towards the front door. He saw me again and smiled.
Once in mutual physical space, I asked, ‘So you’re outta here, eh?’
He laughed and grabbed his side saying, ‘Yeah my liver is swelled to the size of a football.’
I chuckled and said, ‘You know Ed, I’ve never been one to be an autograph person but I have to say it’s a great pleasure to meet you.’
He laughed and said, ‘Ya know Sage, if you want, I will gladly give you an autograph.’
I stood up off and said, “Forget that Ed, I just want a hug!’
He laughed and gave me this massive man of a hug and said, ‘Thanks Sage.'”
“Between December 1993 to February 1994, I was working as an intern in Hong Kong. And it was there that I had my most embarrassing moment with a celebrity, so much so that over 20 years later, I recall it like it happened yesterday. I was walking down Nathan Road with my brother on a Sunday morning in early January when I noticed this athletic, well-built lady walking in front of me with long black frizzy hair, a black leather jacket, and jeans. What struck me about her was the way she was walking, a very confident walk or a strut, almost arrogant but not quite.
Well, truth be told, she walked kinda like a man. She was accompanied by her mother who was very recognizable to me as I had seen her on TV countless times; it was Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario’s mother. So then I quickly surmised that it was Arantxa herself who was walking right in front of me. For those of you not into tennis, she was the World’s number six player in 1993 and was one of Steffi Graf’s main opponents in the mid-90s.
As it happened, I had a pen and notebook with me, so I quickly took it out of my pocket, rushed forward, and with apologies, asked if I could have her autograph. She looked at me in genuine surprise that she was being hassled in the middle of Hong Kong where no one, apart from me, recognized her.
She actually asked me, ‘You mean you know who I am?’
I said, ‘Yes.’
I told her that I was a tennis fan and I liked watching her play. I also knew that she was in town for an exhibition match with Steffi Graf. So assuming that it was a Sunday evening match since all finals matches are on Sundays. I wished her luck for her coming exhibition match with Steffi. She gave me a funny look and she signed my notebook.
I thanked her and wished her luck again as well as luck for the upcoming Australian Open. She said thank you to me and then walked off.
It was only later when I got home and read the papers that I came across an article that reported that Sanchez-Vicario had lost the exhibition match, yesterday. It was then I realized why she had given me a funny look. She thought that I was being funny. Man, was I embarrassed. And to top it all off, her run to the Aussie Open in 1994 was stopped in the finals by Steffi who smacked her off the court by winning.”
“This happened in the late ’80s when I was working at a restaurant at Lenox Square in the Buckhead section of Atlanta. One afternoon after the lunch rush had died down, the restaurant was nearly empty when a gentleman came in and was seated in my station. I walked up and recognized Elton John, who was becoming and now is the first international ambassador of Atlanta. He’s not a native son of course, but he has embraced the city and the city has embraced him.
I did not acknowledge that I knew who he was. I treated him just like any other customer. He ordered a cup of coffee and that was all. We engaged in small talk regarding the weather and such, but that was it. When he left, he paid with a twenty and told me to keep the change. So began a months-long relationship wherein Elton would show up, once or twice a week, and have a cup of coffee at a table in a niche in the restaurant where he wasn’t easily seen. Several times he was accompanied by a friend who also just drank coffee. I never once inferred that I knew he was one of the biggest pop stars in the world. It seemed to me that he liked this arrangement very much, that he needed a little place where he could just be someone who was like everyone else without fuss, without fanfare. He always left a twenty for the bill.
All good things come to an end they say and sure enough, the word got out that he could be found at our place several times a week. People began to keep an eye out for him there. Soon he was approached by fans whenever he came in. I tried to keep them away as much as possible, but my efforts were in vain. The last time he came in, he was approached more or less continually. When he left, he shook my hand and slipped me a hundred-dollar bill. I knew then that it was over and he never came in again.
I look on those long-ago days with a sweet sadness. I enjoyed supplying this great talent with a small refuge from his public persona, giving him a space where he could just be a guy having a cup of coffee.”
Danny Frickin’ DeVito
“I smoked with Danny DeVito at one of Billy Joel’s properties in Deal, New Jersey. This was either in 2000 or 2001. I was at a club in Asbury Park, New Jersey and at about three am, I followed a bunch of people from the club to an ‘after-hours party’ at a private home in Deal, but had no idea who the owner was.
Later, I was on the third-floor balcony, smoking, and noticed that the in-ground pool in the back yard was shaped like a baby grand piano.
I made note of it out loud to no one in particular, ‘Hey, the pool is shaped like a baby grand piano.’
From behind me, I heard a very familiar but impossible voice, ‘Well, he is the Piano Man.’
I turned around, looked down, and there he was in all his glory, Danny frickin’ DeVito. I was stunned, flabbergasted, and stoned, but immediately told myself not to gush over him or he’d probably leave.
So I said something brilliant. ‘Huh?’
‘Billy Joel,’ he answered. ‘The Piano Man. This is his house. Didn’t you know that?’
‘Nope.’ I answered because one syllable of answers seemed to be all I could manage.
‘How’d you get in here?’ He asked.
‘I just followed a bunch of people from the club. Didn’t really know where I was going,’ I said.
He laughed at that and said, ‘Some of the best parties I ever went to started out like that. Yo, pass that over here will ya?’
I handed him the joint and we just stood there smoking and chatting about random stuff for like 15 minutes.
Finally, he said, ‘Look, I gotta go circulate. But it’s been really nice talking with you. Thanks for the smoke up. Peace.’
And before he could walk away I said, ‘Look, dude. I’m sure you get this a lot and probably get sick of it but, I just want to tell you, I think you are awesome. Just hilarious, great, and awesome. Thank you.’
He laughed and reached out to shake my hand. Then he said, ‘Nah, I never get sick of hearing that. Thanks a lot. You take care.'”
“I briefly met Jessica Alba at this bakery/sandwich shop in Santa Monica about 10 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. We’re about the same age, and full disclosure, I’ve had a huge crush on her since we were teenagers. Who knew that 10 years later there we would be, waiting in the same sandwich line on a random Tuesday morning?
I was standing right behind her in line, and I had no idea it was even her until minutes later since I was on my blackberry. I was tipped off by the fact that everyone in the shop was looking in my direction. Then moments later, she happened to turn to the side and immediately I knew who it was. Can I say that she smelled amazing without sounding creepy? No? Ok then. The important question was, ‘What on earth am I going to do to get her attention and start a conversation?!’
Usually, I’m pretty good in these scenarios, but my mind went completely blank. I was totally going to blow this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So she got to the front of the line and ordered her sandwich, so I listened in and it sounded really good. Prosciutto and provolone cheese sandwich with tomato, olive oil, and basil. So obviously, I was next up, and of course, I was in dreamland at the moment and probably couldn’t have even remembered my name if someone asked me, let alone my order.
So I just blurted out, ‘I’ll have what she’s having. That sounded amazing!’
Who knew that would be the moment that I caught her attention?
She turned to me, smiled, and said, ‘Trust me, you’re going to love that sandwich!’
I replied, ‘Yeah, I was going to order something else, but when I overheard your order I was like, wow I’ve gotta try that.’
She responded excitedly, ‘Yeah this place is so good and that’s my go-to.’
So we talked for a minute and I told her how I lived right down the street, and if this place had her endorsement I definitely would come back more often. It did, so I came back frequently. They obviously prioritized her order since her sandwich was ready.
But before she left, she turned to me and said, ‘Enjoy your sandwich, Jay.’
I couldn’t believe she remembered my name. And that was the last I saw her there.”
Jerry Stiller And Tom Arnold
“We were in New York City, some time ago when my son approached George Clooney, who brushed him aside as though he were an annoying insect. Fortunately for my son, David within 10 minutes he ran into Jerry Stiller, who has been a star for 50 years. He was shopping because he had an armload of groceries in each arm. Mr. Stiller could not have been more gracious. David helped him load the groceries into his car, and Stiller invited David to lean against the car and chat for nearly ten minutes. He shook David’s hand warmly, asked to meet his father (me), and remarked that he didn’t know that ‘Gulliver was running loose,’
Stiller gave him a picture from the old Stiller and Meara days and signed it with a several-sentence inscription. He could not have been nicer. He even recommended the nearby ‘Carnegie Diner’ to us. We went, and he was right.
Another time, we were at ‘Planet Hollywood’ in Washington D.C. I had driven in from Bloomington for David’s 21st birthday), and there were Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Tom Arnold, and a few ‘bodyguards.’ They were amidst shooting ‘True Lies.’
My son is a very quiet man, but not shy. He tried to approach Schwarzenegger, twice, and was shooed away by the ‘bodyguards.’ The second time, Tom Arnold got up, came over to David, sat him down and talked to him, shook his hand, posed for two pictures with him. He couldn’t have been nicer. Say what you will about Tom Arnold, I will always be a fan.
I am glad Mr. Stiller and Mr. Arnold were there when they were. They treated a young man they’d never met with respect and gained nothing from it.”
No Other Than Chuck Norris
“I was sitting for dinner at a high-end restaurant with a number of executives, celebrating the purchase of the company I was working for. As the great food and drinks were passing through our table, I suddenly noticed Chuck Norris, along with his wife and an entourage of ten, stepping into the restaurant and sitting at a table near ours. Apparently, he was a childhood hero of one of the executives at our table. But honestly, Chuck was everyone’s childhood hero, wasn’t he?
Anyway, this executive quickly hurried to call the waiter and deliver a bottle of their best, at the cost of about 1,000 bucks, to Mr. Norris’s table. He then nodded at us with the most subtle gesture filled with respect and gratitude of the likes of which only Chuck Norris was capable of.
Later on that evening, as Chuck and his fellows were leaving the establishment, he passed through our table to say hello. We were ecstatic. We told him about the company merger and he proceeded to congratulate us and we talked for about 15 minutes. He’s the most down-to-earth stand-up guy ever. He looked decades younger than he actually is. He talked to you as if you were close friends; he’s an amazing guy.
I approached him and told him I grew up on his films and would love to take a picture with him, to which he of course agreed.”
“I grew up in a small town in upstate New York called ‘Cairo’. Cairo was close to the major ski area, Hunter Mountain. My friend from high school was driving to town and had just got onto the bypass and was slammed into by a large black Mercedes. My friend’s car was totaled but he was ultimately okay. When started walking towards the Mercedes, a guy got out of the driver’s side of the Mercedes and started apologizing profusely.
My friend immediately recognized the guy and it was Jerry Seinfeld. Jerry was telling my friend it was his own fault, which it was as he was speeding. Then the cops showed up. Now the car accident turned into a ‘Wow! It’s Jerry Seinfeld!’ moment in our little town.
My friend is one of the most down-to-earth people you could ever meet. While many people would be grabbing their necks and calling attorneys, my friend told Jerry that his insurance would handle things and it was fine. Jerry meanwhile was insisting he would pay for everything and get him a new car. My friend kept saying no.
Months later, Jerry’s sister called my friend and insisted that he take a check for the car and my friend finally relented.”
“My Mom’s friend was having a wedding at a local restaurant. Apparently, her husband’s brother is Kyle MacLachlan, and he showed up.
Without knowing who he was, even though I watched some of the Marvel series, I thought he was hilarious. He sang a song with a friend about his brother, with a bunch of explicit words that my Mom had wished I didn’t have to hear.
I wanted to take a picture with him, just for the sole purpose of him being popular. However, by the time I said something about it, he had already left.
My Mom’s friend ended up calling him, and he came all the way back after about 10 minutes of driving, to come to take a picture with me.
That is something I will never forget, the heart he had to take a picture with me.”