Lame Celebrity Stories

I have plenty of stories.  Stories from my past.  Stories about my kids.  Stories that I can’t tell because they are deemed confidential.  But I don’t have any good stories featuring famous people.  You probably do, though.  You probably have several cool stories about how you were just roaming around Wal-mart, looked up, and saw Brad Paisley picking up some light bulbs or Celine Dion trying to find her cd’s in the bargain bin.  Kenny Chesney is probably your cousin and you probably once got into a fight with Russell Crowe.  You probably bring up these occurrences casually, like they are no big deal, like they happen all of the time. 

They don’t; not to me at least.  My semi-recent brushes with fame are fairly boring.  See for yourself.

 WARNING: Do not read while operating heavy machinery because doing so may cause drowsiness and lead to serious injury.

1.  Donald Miller.  He tweeted something.  I tweeted a reply.  He tweeted back saying that it was his favorite reply of the day.  Or something like that.  It was the equivalent of the coolest kid in school and one of the nerds sharing a head-nod.  The nerd thinks “Hey, this may be the start of a friendship.” The cool kid thinks, “Why did that nerd just nod at me?”

2.  Bobby Bowden.  I met him a few years ago when he was recruiting the son of a co-worker.  I shook his hand.  Other people seemed filled with joy while doing this; I was just hoping he had washed his hand after using the restroom.  I also expected him to offer me a piece of hard candy because he is old and that is what old men do.  He didn’t.  I was disappointed.

3.  Tony Campolo.  I was eating at a Subway near the airport (and hoping that I wouldn’t smell too much like meatballs when I left) when he came in.  I recognized him immediately, walked over to him, and told him that I had read a couple of his books and that I appreciated his work.  He said, “Thanks.  Keep the faith.”  And then he left.  I told myself that it was the long line that dissuaded him from eating fresh, but it may have been the overly friendly, freakishly big guy with the honey mustard stain on his shirt.  When I got back to work and told a few people that I had met Tony Campolo, they said–“Tony who?”  Which is probably what you are thinking, too.  I warned you.  Bor-RING!

4.  Sonny Shroyer.  That’s right!  Yours truly got to meet Deputy Enos Strate from The Dukes of Hazzard.  Remember, envy is a sin.

And that’s about it.  I don’t have any amazing stories to tell about running in to famous people.  I have something better.

I have a story about Jesus running to me. 

When I was hopeless, helpless, and dead in my sins–He ran to me. 

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

I may not have good celebrity stories, but I have one about encountering the Savior.  I hope you do, too.  And I hope we share this story more frequently and with far more enthusiasm than we do the stories about seeing famous people in random places. 

(Do you have any stories about running into celebrities?  Do you have a story about Jesus running to you?  Share away!)


74 thoughts on “Lame Celebrity Stories

  1. I met Albert Pujols my freshman year of college. And I met CC Sabathia right after I graduated high school. Sabathia is the largest man in the world.

    Jesus literally knocked me over while I was working at a car lot, but that’s another story.

  2. I live in NYC so I see all types of celebrities. I bumped into Shaq in a club, I saw Charles Oakley in a car wash. I also introduced myself to Brooke Shields in Chelsea Piers. Yup, I didn’t wash my hands for a week.

    But yes, Jesus made me get all shaky and weepy and blushy. He knocked me off my boots (and I had sneakers).

  3. I consider myself the same as you Matt, no cool celebrity moments.

    I used to book hotel rooms nationwide for a major chain and booked one for Clark Kellog (of ESPN or at least he was 10 years ago). I didnt confirm it with him, but who else would have that name? Also, I’m pretty sure I booked one for Davy Jones of The Monkees He had a brittish accent, went by David Jones and was booking a room at a very expensive and exclusive hotel. Lame, indeed.

    I am also the sister to the quasi-famous (in the world of humorous Christian blogging) Bryan Allain. Through him I have met more quasi-famous people like Derek Webb and Caedmon’s Call.

    Also, back to that hotel industry job, I was able to get a room in an amazing Montreal hotel room for myself and some friends for our “senior trip.” The Mets were in town to play the Expos and we happened to be riding in the elevator with a few of those Mets, I think. They were big, white, athletic men. Again, lame, indeed.

  4. George Bush (41)’s secret service detail clotheslined me once. I was heading into a football game, checking my ticket to see how far up in the stadium I would have to go and got a forearm across my face. Turns out, George and Babs were heading to their (much better) seat and I could be a threat to them. I am pretty klutzy.

    Jesus gets me, every time. Sometimes, even the most gentle encounters hit me right across the face.

  5. lol @ ” WARNING: Do not read while operate heavy machinery because doing so may cause drowsiness and lead to serious injury.”

    This post made me laugh out loud! Seriously. I got a couple of replies:

    1) I lived in PORTLAND and tweeted at Donald Miller EVERY DAY..Never got anything. Well, that’s not true, the restraining order was pretty real. But it kind of felt good. “Donald Miller knows who I am!!”

    2) I’m from Florida and wrote to Bobby Bowden as a boy asking him for his autograph. I got one from him that said, “Maybe football isn’t your game, kid.” (This could be because I kept talking about the FSU basketball team, in retrospect.)

    3) I know who Tony Campolo is! I read three of his books! That’s my only story there.

    Oh, and 4.) Kenny Chestney is my cousin.

    No, not really. My wife met Chuck Norris once. On a plane. She said she was engaged to me. He said, “Whatever..” 😦

    • Being trapped in a metal tube flying through the air with Chuck Norris would be terrifying. And maybe one day you can get Miller to sign your restraining order. As my 8 year old would say–“That would be epic!”

      • Of course, you realize saying that is inviting the Chuck Norris lines to begin.

        I’d be fine with being on a plane with Chuck Norris. No plane would dare crash with Chuck Norris on board. It would be too afraid. After all, the bogeyman checks under his bed at night for Chuck Norris.

        Believe me, you can eat up a lot of hours with Chuck Norris tall tales.

  6. Umm, I’m going to steal your idea from this post.
    Right then, moving along.
    I once drove Tony Campolo and his wife Peggy from the airport to a TV interview. I don’t usually drop links but I wrote about it in part a long time ago at

    Now I’ve got to think about my lame interactions. I’ll give you a nod if I write a post on them!

  7. Having been in radio for 20 years, I have a TON of stories involving famous people. But let me share a favorite. 🙂

    It was the 90s and I was in Nashville for a radio conference. I walked into a room where various artists were recording what radio folks call “liners.” (Things like “Hi! This is Martina McBride and you’re listening to Country 96!”) Each of the record labels had rows of booths with their logo above it so you knew where to find the artists for their label.

    One label had an artist sitting alone in his cubicle. No label reps. No other artists. And no radio people were stopping to talk to him. You see, his first single and album had basically tanked. I was a fan of his father so I sat down and just struck up a conversation. I should have been getting liners but I was just having a great time. Found out that he actually partied a few times at the college I was attending.

    Later that night, I was walking the halls of the Opryland Hotel trying to sneak into a party. Working at a tiny, small town radio station I didn’t have the coveted VIP passes to get my rear end kissed by label folks. As I walked past one of the suites, a hand grabbed my shoulder. It was the artist I talked to earlier in the day. He said no one was talking to him and wanted to know if I wanted to join him and his guitar player in the bar for a beer. So we went and had a good time. At the end of the night, he owed a round and said that he would get me next year. I said “sure” thinking that would never happen.

    The next year, Tim McGraw was HUGE. “Indian Outlaw” was a smash and he couldn’t go anywhere without being hounded by radio people who just the year prior wouldn’t give him the time of day. The opening night of the following year’s radio conference, there was a giant reception where all the attendees met in a ballroom for mixing and mingling.

    I was walking around looking at the beautiful people in their power clusters. Suddenly, I get twirled around…and Tim McGraw is standing there holding a Budweiser. “Thought I’d forget, didn’t you?”

    To self-Juke, my collision with Jesus wasn’t that dramatic. Literally, it was almost like I finally saw Him and said “Dude” and he smiled and replied “Dude.”

  8. As a child, I met the late Billy Martin at a Lunt Avenue Marble Club restaurant.

    Last year, I met Donald Miller, and have since exchanged some tweets with him.

    Also last year, I chickened out on introducing myself to Jon Acuff at a Ramsey event. Don’t know why.

    I have corresponded–a very little–with Bryan Allain, and even interviewed him on my blog.

    Shakira once visited my worksite, but I bailed before she showed up because I don’t dig crowds.

  9. Kid Rock’s lead guitarist (who’s name nobody really knows. and by “nobody” I mean me.)… anyways, the lead guitarist’s son went to the daycare I used to work at. So when it was pick-up time, all us girls would line the hallway and watch the man walk by. 🙂

  10. I met Lou Diamond Phillips in the 90s. He and his band played at one of the clubs here, and my friend and I were huge fans of his at the time, so we went. We got to get his autograph at the end of the show. Not much of an interesting story, but hey, it’s a brush with fame…to a degree.

  11. I also got to meet Tony Campolo once. He was speaking at my college for an honors ceremony. He has been one of my heroes of the faith since I was a much, much younger person and I was so excited to meet him. He always struck me as larger than life, so I was surprised to see how small he was IRL, but still. That was probably one of the most exciting moments in my life.

    I also got to meet Jason Gedrick (of Iron Eagle) once. Some friends and I went to an indoor amusement park in Ohio and he was there signing autographs and taking pictures. We went and got our pic taken with him (he was doing the show Class of ’96 at the time and we all watched like all four episodes before it was cancelled). We then went, ate some vinegar fries, rode some kind of spinny ride, and I threw up. Great day.

  12. Love this post! It’s a good ‘un. I love your line, there, too: “Remember, envy is a sin.” Gave me a chuckle!

    Like you, I haven’t had too many celebrity encounters. I think one time I was in the same room as Antonio Banderas, but I’m not sure. He totally looked like him, but older. And he acted like famous people do… turned his back to my mom and I as if he didn’t want us to recognize him. Later my mom said, “I think that was Antonio Banderas!” So I don’t think it was just some weird fantasy on my part. 😉

    Recently at a writer’s conference I got the opportunity to meet some people I really look up to. Sat across from comedian Ken Davis and talked to him, sat next to my favorite author Liz Curtis Higgs and had her give me some advice, and shared an elevator ride with Jerry B. Jenkins. (Funny story about how I was an idiot with Mr. Jenkins, if you ever want to hear it!)

      • Sorry, I know this is a delayed response! Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with his beard, hehe.

        I’d been riding on the elevator for at least three floors, stopping at each one. At each floor, the doors would open and a normal person would walk on. On the fourth floor I found myself alone. The doors opened, and this time they opened to Jerry B. Jenkins.

        Normally, I don’t really get starstruck. Or at least, I try not to. To me celebrities are just normal people. So I was surprised when I felt my eyes grow the size of my head and my jaw dropped. Here was the man in charge of the entire conference! Here was the man on the best seller list! I shook my head and tried to pull myself together. “Just be normal,” I told myself.

        To give you some background here, it was only 20 minutes until a general session that Jerry B. Jenkins would open. We were both headed to the same place, trying to be on time. Every person has a name tag with Writing for the Soul across the top, so he knew I was going the same place he was. Trying to be normal, I watched as he pushed the button for the second floor.

        “Oh! You’re going to the same place I am!” I said cheerily.

        I slapped myself mentally. Of course he was going the same place I was! He was the speaker!

        Realizing this, I tried to save it with, “Whiiich would make sense.”

        To his credit, Mr. Jenkins was very polite. He simply ducked his head and grinned, without a word.

        So that’s my story!

      • He’s so real and nice! It was my first day at the conference and I was so nervous and hadn’t really made any friends yet, so I was standing awkwardly wondering who to sit by. Then some guys waves to me and says, “Here, come sit with us!” Then I realize I’m sitting right across from Ken Davis.

  13. I lived in California for 15 years, so I would “bump” into people every once in a while.

    My favorite: at an LA Kings game, I sat a few rows from MacGyver. It was glorious.

  14. On a Sunday after church, we saw Jerome Bettis walking across the crosswalk with his family, I tell Kim “hey, look there’s the bus.” She proceeded to roll the window down, and yell “HEY BUS!”
    ~ I love my wife.

    Also got to meet Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster while shooting the Amazing Race. That was rad.

    Living in CA I got to see a ton of celebs too: Michael Jackson in a Toy Store (no lie), Leslie Nielson on the golf course, oh wait that was Phoenix. My favorite of all time was when we lived in Santa Barbara, and John Travolta returned our dog to our house when she got out. My mom couldn’t speak for hours.

    Oh, also in Santa Barbara I sat in Christie Brinkley’s high school chair, I spoke for hours on end.

  15. My wife and I were walking through some mall in Houston while on vacation a few years back. A kid jumped out in front of us, wearing this awful basketball outfit (crimson and yellow, complete w/ sweatbands).

    I walked around him, but he wouldn’t let my wife pass. He begged her to take a picture of him with another couple. My wife, who is nicer than me, took their picture. The kid asked her to take a couple more, to be sure. My wife did so, and then we all moved on.

    As we continued walking down the mall, we noticed several two-story posters hanging from the ceiling, advertising some movie called Juno.

    We had just been badgered by Michael Cera, who was at the mall to promote his movie, and we had no idea.

  16. If you are in Christian circles then you might would count TobyMac. I stalked…I mean met him multiple times. He now recognizes me and my wife. Oh and The Newsboys once borrowed my car to go get dinner. They didn’t invite me, but they drove my car to Applebee’s.

  17. THE Bobby Bowden!!! That’s a pretty big deal over here in West Virginia!!! 🙂

    It’s a long story, but one night in college I met and hung out with…Kid Rock, Dale Earnhart Jr., Tony Stewart, and Uncle Kracker.

    At the time, I thought it was such a big deal. It’s funny how things change when you meet Jesus. Celebrity has a whole new meaning to me these days. It’s people like you, Pastor Matt, that are my new celebrity. When I get to “meet” people that are totally in love with Jesus, believe what He says is true, and are spreading His love and walking it out….that…is reason to celebrate.

    Every time somebody starts talking about Jesus, I get so excited! I just want to jump up and down, clap, and yell, “JESUS!!!….I know Him!!” (said like Buddy the Elf)

    Jesus loves me so much that He added my name to His Book of Life. As excited as I am to know Him…He is just as excited to know me. That’s enough to make a girl blush.

  18. Well, I have only a couple of very vague connections to genuine celebrities, those whose name I could say and someone on the street might know who it was.

    1) I used to work with the sister-in-law of Randy Travis. His hometown is less than an hour from me.

    2) I got the autograph of a couple of then-Carolina Panther players when they were signing at the grand opening of a Lowes, I think it was. I was too shy to say a word, but my dad talked to Chris Weinke (spelling possibly incorrect) for just a minute or two, as he used to live in the same general area my parents did before I was born.

    3) I have a family member who manages a modestly popular rock band. They’re not a household name, but if I mention them around rock music fans, they’ve usually heard of them.

    My real connections, though, have mostly been with people only well known in my hobbies. I corresponded a few times with Donald Featherstone and a couple of other major wargaming authors. Nobody but wargamers know who they are, but it remains very cool to me. I used to chat occasionally online with the girlfriend of a major video game designer, and also with a couple of the Frag Dolls all-female video game competition team (Kat and Athena). Of course, so did several thousand other gamers on the same online site, but at least one of them later recognized my online handle in another venue when I said hello. Pathetically geeky, yes, but there you are. Oh, and I got a brief Facebook note back from Bodie Thoene the Christian fiction author.

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