1. I was 10 years old in 2002 when my mom took me to the Bronx Zoo for the first time. It was a rainy day so we practically had the whole place to ourselves except for 3 British kids running around, chaperoned by a woman. My mom quickly befriended the woman while I made like a kid and joined the hoard, looking at spiders and scorpions and sharing in the awe and excitement of the animals.
After about an hour when we said our goodbyes, my mother told me that the kid, Daniel, who I had been hanging out with had played Harry Potter in the movie that came out last year.
I had thought he looked familiar.
2. My mom yelled at Pierce Brosnan. She and my dad were at a ski resort getting lunch. My mother gets quite hangry (an unfortunate trait I inherited) and was waiting in line to order. Right as she’s about to order a guy tried to cut in front of her and interrupt her. She snapped and told him to go to the back of the line like everyone else. She got her food and went back to my dad sitting there mouth wide open in shock.
“Do you know who that was?”
“That was Pierce Brosnan. You just yelled at James Bond.”
“Well he shouldn’t have tried to cut me.”
3. We were vacationing in Maine and spending a lot of time on the beach. My father-in-law would walk his dog early everyone morning. He met this lady and they would meet up and walk their dogs together then go their separate ways.
One morning I got up early to come with him, and to my surprise, we met up with Sigourney Weaver and went for a walk.
4. My cousin rode a ski lift with Jack Black in Vail. Just the two of them. Her husband and I were in the lift behind them, freaking out. When we got off the lift they’d gone their separate ways. We made our way to her she was like, “Wow, that guy on my lift was so nice.” We were like NO SHIT THAT WAS JACK BLACK. She was like “THE SCHOOL OF ROCK GUY?!?!”
She was so embarrassed. She said she rambled on about living in Iowa for most of their conversation. We laughed our asses off.
5. I worked at a movie theater in Albuquerque at the time they we’re filming the first avengers film. Captain America was about to come out, I remember because we had the huge standee of him in the lobby. I was reading in the box office when three people came up. Guy asked for 3 tickets to Bridesmaids. It was dark out and he had a green baseball cap and sunglasses. He paid with a credit card. Christopher Evans. I stared at the card after I swiped it. Handed it back. “I need you to sign the receipt.” He did. And then he walked in.
6. My friend’s mom (over 70 years old) owns a small asian grocery store. Post Malone came walking in with his girlfriend and his mom had no idea who he was. A few cute things happened:
She was nervous because of his tattoos, but happy/not worried once he bought a lot of food. She had no idea he was a celebrity.
She gave him a free snack for buying so much food and told him to come back for lunchtime for cheap and tasty gyoza (he did come back the next day!)
She was worried he would get mugged going to his car because of 3 big men outside so she followed him outside (they were his bodyguards)
She really liked his “cool car” (it was a lamborghini)
She told my friend about the encounter that evening and he pulled up a youtube video based on the description – it was him. When Post Malone came back the next day for Gyoza she got a selfie with him (it’s on my friends phone so I don’t have the picture available right now). Whole thing is adorable with how innocent his mom is.
7. This happened yesterday! My wife took my son to the zoo, and he wanted to read every little plaque in the reptile area. My wife was distracted for a moment, so he asked the nearest stranger to read the plaque for him. My wife turned around to see Scarlett Johansson happily reading the info to him.
8. I was a student athlete in college and was required to “volunteer” a certain number of hours per year. One of the options was to help freshmen move in, which I obviously chose so I could scope out the new talent.
I just finished helping move a kid’s stuff and head back to the loading area, and a black SUV pulls up. Out hops Larry David, his ex-wife, and their daughter who was starting school. I immediately recognized him but played it cool, he wasn’t getting a ton of recognition since I’m guessing not many college students are fans of Curb/Seinfeld.
I introduced myself to them all and he introduced himself and said “Hi, I’m Larry,” and mentioned they were from LA. I replied and said, “I used to live in LA, and you look really familiar. Did we meet?” To which he replied “No, I’m just one of those faces,” and gave me a huge wink.
He was cracking jokes the entire move and introducing himself to everyone just as Larry. Just as funny in person as he is on TV. After finishing the move he was nice enough to take a pic with me. Great guy, and the only major celebrity I’ve ever met.
9. My mom is a big sports fan. One time she was shopping at and saw a really large, fit looking man who she didn’t immediately recognize but seemed familiar. She thought it must of been a professional football player or something, so she went up to the only other person in the shop, who was this smaller weird-looking guy, and asked him if he knew who the athletic looking man was. The short guy looked at my mom and said “That’s my bodyguard, I’m Elton John.”
10. I met Justin Timberlake and had no idea it was him until someone told me afterwards. Went to a basketball game with my dad and we stopped by the bar area in the arena first. The game had just started so it was pretty empty except for the bar itself. My dad goes to the restroom and I walk up to the bar to order a beer. There’s only one seat at the bar next to a guy in a baseball cap and sunglasses. I politely ask if the seat is taken and he just says “Nope, it’s all you, man.” We shoot the shit for a couple minutes. He’s sitting on my right and eventually he says he and his wife are going to go to their seats. He extends his hand and asks my name. I tell him and ask his name. He says, “Justin. Nice to meet you dude, have a good night.”
He and his wife leave and the bartender comes up to me and says, “You know that was Justin Timberlake, right?”
I immediately did a double take and couldn’t believe I didn’t recognize him even with the hat and sunglasses. I told my girlfriend at the time who was a huge Justin Timberlake fan and she couldn’t believe I met him without knowing it was him. She wouldn’t let it go for like a month.
11. When I was younger with fewer responsibilities I used to just drive around for the hell of it. To me, driving is a hobby. Late at night was my favorite time. The streets are empty. My uncle is like this too. I asked him if he wanted to meet at American Coney Island. We sat down in a booth. A couple guys walked in after us and sat down behind us. Eminem, Dr. Dre, and a guy I later found out was Jimmy Iovine. We paid them no attention, but we knew who they were. They finished before us and as they were walking out, Eminem nodded at us and said, “Thanks for not making a big deal about this. We got you.” He and the other guys disappeared around the corner.
12. Stood in front of Miranda Cosgrove in line for Space Mountain at Disneyland. Weirdest part of it was we were in the same car on the ride and nobody screamed or did anything during the ride. It was completely silent. Me and my sister just looked at each other like “wtf is going on?”
13. Me and my wife were on a trip for 9 days with Rainn Wilson (Dwight from the office) and his family. I know he doesn’t like being treated like he’s just a character from a tv show so I refrained from mentioning it or even letting on that I knew he was a famous actor.
One day he had a sandwich with some beetroot in it, turns to his wife and says, “These beets are really amazing.” It took every bit of me not to say something about Dwight then.
He’s a fantastic guy, and his family is lovely.
14. Jerry Seinfeld tried coming into my coffee shop but I told him we are closing so we can’t help him. Didn’t realize it was him till I turned around. Sorry Jerry!
15. Was walking out of a gas station over on Crescent Heights and Sunset and heard a “hey!…hey!” coming from a cracked window on tinted out range rover that was parked at one of the pumps. I walk over to the car to see Jeff Goldblum, who had somehow seen my gold ring I was wearing on my right hand from 20 feet away. He proceeds to tell me how he loves my ring and has been looking for one just like it and asks me where I got it. I tell him it was my grandfather’s and he asks to see it up close. I hold my hand up to Jeff Goldblum, he takes my hand, gushes about the ring for a minute and thanks me. I said sure and walked back to my apartment.
I like to think we’re friends now.
16. I was in a book store in RI and was in the horror section. Picked up a book by Stephen King, and flipped it over and saw his picture on the back (or inside the cover, I don’t really remember).
I look up, and in the next aisle over, right across the book shelf from me, is a guy that looks exactly like Stephen King. So I hold up the book and say, “Is this you?”
And that was that.
17. When I worked at Target Jack Black came in and kept asking for things we didn’t have. Stuff like Long John’s (it was summer). I just went along with it for a while until he got bored and left.
18. I served Daniel Radcliffe brunch one time. All the other servers were freaking the hell out that he was in our restaurant, so, given I don’t care much about actors and would remain professional, I was chosen to take care of him. He ordered the eggs Benedict, no sides, extra Benedict. I dubbed it “The Quad Benny”. He was incredibly polite and appreciative, tipped well, and his accent was downright intoxicating. After that experience, I became a big Radcliffe fan.
19. I met Giancarlo Esposito at the Whole Foods in Austin, Tx 4-5 years ago. (Gus Fring from Breaking Bad)
I worked there as a security guard at the time and he asked me where the cheese section was. I told him and he very politely said thank you and went on his way. A few people walked over to him to ask for photos but I was happy just to have met him.
20. I actually had no clue I was sitting next to a celebrity in an airport for about 90min.
People asked him for his picture. Some people asked me if I should be in the photo. I declined. The celebrity asked me to smile and play along if anyone else asked for a picture of us both.
At first I was confused, as time wore on I was a little embarrassed. He told me he was on TV and we chatted about where we were flying, what books we were reading etc… but I didn’t want to ask who he was because it seemed rude.
After he left someone asked me how I knew him. I said I didn’t. They told me he was Michael C. Hall from “Dexter”… saddest thing is I watched that show but didn’t clue in.
I think about it and laugh… someone got a picture of me and Dexter and showed it to their friends trying to figure out who the other guy in the picture was.
21. Michelle Pfeiffer used to come into the hockey rink I played at in NorCal. Her son played and so did David. She’d sit up in the club/restaurant watching practice or games and no one ever treated her like she was mega famous. We mostly just left her alone. Btw, She’s even more beautiful in person.
22. My dad and I bumped into Michael Jordan at a Walgreen’s near Chicago. This was back in 2006 or so.
We were picking out birthday cards for my mom, and MJ and his son came in the same aisle browsing some cards. My dad kept his cool and continued to look through different cards, giving him his personal space. I, on the other hand, was 9 years old and in awe, sort of staring at him. After MJ picked out his card, he winked at me and gave me a walk-by fist bump.
Didn’t really set in until I was older how cool that was.
23. Robin Williams used to walk around my lone childhood country town near SF. I saw him once (after hearing many rumors about his sightings, not entirely unlike Bigfoot or Nessy sightings).
My brain didn’t fully comprehend what it was seeing. But I could tell he was trying his very best to remain incognito and not draw any unwanted attention.
We locked eyes. He smiled, I smiled and nodded back, and we both went ur separate ways.
24. I worked at a Barnes & Noble in NY as a clerk, but once or twice I’d be called over to the in-store Starbucks cafe to help out whenever they were understaffed. One time, Alan Rickman came up and ordered something, I can’t recall what. I wrote “Hans Gruber” on his cup though. He smiled at me when he noticed it.
25. Yay! I have one to share! Bruce Springsteen. A hole in the wall bar. Early 2000’s. I had just left home and moved to nyc in the last year or two, and there was this bar my friends and I would meet up at. I got there a little early and sat at the bar, five minutes in this guy sits next to me, with a chair in between, ordered French fries. I had met a celebrity and asked for an autograph and realized Bruce might leave… and I REALLY loved him (my mom was a fan). So I didn’t say that I knew him. We did comment back and forth about the news (it was on the tv over the bar) Several people came up and asked for autographs or photos and the atmosphere changed and he booked it out of there.
Kinda felt bad for him.
26. Patton Oswalt grew up in the area I was living in for a while. Walked into starbucks and saw him talking to an older woman at a table in the middle of the room. Made eye contact by accident and gave a lil head nod like I would if i accidentally making eye contact with anyone, and went about with my order. Got home and looked up why he’d be in the area and found his wife had died like a week prior. So glad I gave him space.
27. I was sitting at the Genius Bar at an Apple store one day and a very large man with dreads came and sat next to me. He was bringing his phone in to get fixed because he dropped it and didn’t have a case. I overheard an employee jokingly say, “you wear a helmet when you play football, shouldn’t your phone have the same protection?” I knew it was Larry Fitzgerald, but I didn’t want to be a fanboy so I started asking very broad questions about what he did as a profession to stay engaged in a conversation with him. Larry Fitz is, to this day, one of the nicest, most humble people I have ever met.
28. About 40 years ago my father was sitting next to Telly Savalas at some Vegas blackjack table. For about an hour they talked and bet some large amounts of money and my father never let on that he knew the guy was famous. Telly finally says, “its pretty cool that you haven’t asked for my autograph”. My father responds, “well, you didn’t ask for mine”. Telly laughs and writes on a cocktail napkin..”Hey Jeff, can I have your autograph?” He carried that damn napkin with him for years.
29. I was at Soundwave Festival in Australia a few years back. I was at a small stage watching a relatively unknown band called Dredg. Was standing there watching, when I noticed a guy standing next to me watching too. I recognised him but I didn’t let on. I asked if he knew this band and he said talked about how creative and underrated they are. Later that night he headlined as the singer of Limp Bizkit.
30. My brother used to work a parking booth at a Lake where Chuck Woolery used to fish. Chuck would pull up and my brother would say, “5 dollars”. Chuck would then start to find ways to make clear who he was – Chuck Woolery. My brother would respond with, “5 dollars”.
31. Was at a convenience store in LA when me and a very nicely-dressed black gentleman walked up to the cashier at the same time to pay. It was night time and he had his dark shades on and was talking on his phone. I gave him the “after you” gesture and he nodded and said “thanks buddy”, paid and left. It wasn’t until he was out of the store that I realized he was Jamie Foxx.
32. I was at a test screening of the movie Valkyrie. Me and my friends were near the front of the theater talking before the movie started, and I went on this big, loud rant about how “normally I like Tom Cruise movies but War of the Worlds was such a piece of shit, one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, plot didn’t make sense, they strung a bunch of cool scenes together and put a shit happy ending on it and called it a day. ” after I wrap up my 5 minute rant outlining everything wrong with War of the Worlds the person sitting behind us tapped me on the shoulder and point 4 seats down in my row to Tom Cruise glaring at me, I gave him the nod and sat there for what might have been the longest 10 minutes before a movie started ever.
Not quite what you were asking for but close enough for an excuse to tell that story.
33. Before I realized who he was, Shaun Alexander asked me if I liked football. I told him I liked the Steelers. He said, “Yeah, I lost to them in the Super Bowl.” I felt pretty stupid, but he thought it was funny. Super nice guy.
34. Samuel L. Jackson was on my flight. I was second to last to board the flight and there was all this commotion with the flight attendants and gate crew. Once I approached the door of the plane I realized they were all looking at Samuel L. Jackson. He was standing by the cockpit making himself available to passengers/fans. I played it cool. Didn’t say a word. Turns out, I’m shy around celebrities. I’m just glad I didn’t make a snakes on the plane joke.
35. Not sure if this counts but when I was 15 I was really into playing Starcraft (being a 3 month old game at the time) on battle.net. I did mostly 3v3 games. After finishing this one particularly epic match (close game, we won), we all got into a chat room to talk about how fun that was. Iirc, one of them says something to the effect of “not sure if you all care but you just beat Ben Affleck.” Of course we all ask him to prove it, so he told us to wait a minute and visit his official website’s message board (benaffleck.com or something like that). He had just made a post in red (red being Ben Affleck himself) about just losing a game of Starcraft.
We briefly chatted with him and that was it.
36. Not me, but my wife. In college she worked as an intern at a nonprofit that was doing some work at a local concert venue, and while she was in the building doing things this older gentleman struck up a conversation with her. He introduced himself as Justin, and she commented about a family member who shares the name so it would be easy to remember. They talked for a while about random things, the kind of work she was doing, her aspirations after leaving college, etc. He asked if she was staying around for the concert afterward, and she replied that she wasn’t a fan of the band and was going to head out as soon as her work there was done. He wished her well and walked off. A short while later someone asked her, “so you and Justin seemed to hit it off, what were you two talking about?”
“Oh, just random stuff, why who is he?”
“The lead singer and guitarist for the Moody Blues.”
“…. aaaand I just told him I wasn’t a fan of his work.”
37. Worked at a hotel and Russell Crowe came in the lobby. He went to the house phones and called front desk. Where I was working. I could see him pretty easily. I answered the phone and he asked to be connected to a room so I put him through.
This wasn’t long after he threw a phone at a hotel clerk so I didn’t want to take a chance at pissing him off.
38. A couple of years ago me and my sister were at Comic-Con. You tend to see some a lot of famous people there, but it’s usually with them in booths with guards and stuff (with the exception of Seth Green).
Anyway, me and my sister were at one of the booths waiting for their giveaways when a man suddenly came up beside me all excited and in a bit of wonder. He told us how great everything was there and how much of an experience it was for him there, all in a while I was probably looking at him strangely because of how familiar his accent and his voice and his face and his blond hair was. He asked where we got our poster tubes, and that’s probably when I remembered who he was but decided to just not mention it because I was kind of still in disbelief and pointed him to one of the far off booths where they sell poster tubes.
The man was Owen Wilson. I hadn’t been sure it was him, because I always thought he’d be a lot taller. It was kind of warming to see how excited he was to be there in the crowds.
39. Met Elon Musk in a Tesla store in LA. Really wanted to meet him but didn’t want to be that guy. Decided I had a plan, so walked up to him and said, “Excuse me, do you work here?”
He replied, “I mean yeah kind of.”
I say, “Ah what can you tell me about the entertainment console of the Model S?”
He says, “Let me see if I can find someone to help you.”
To which I say, “Nah I’m just fucking with you.”
He laughed and shook my hand and walked off.
40. My sister had an encounter with Jack Black where she didn’t know it was him. We were at a concert for my uncle’s band and she texted me from downstairs while she was charging her phone “I totally just had a conversation with someone who looked like a fatter Jack Black” I texted her back that our uncle knows Jack Black and that was definitely him. Good thing she didn’t do the whole “do you ever get that you look like a heavier Jack Black?” thing!
41. Used to work at a posh hotel and we had wedding there all the time. I was pretty young at the time, say 15.
David Tennant was at one wedding, Doctor fucking Who and I was pouring him coffee.
At first I was sat there thinking is he/isn’t he so I was playing it cool. I went back to the kitchen to top up more coffee in my coffee jug and the staff were talking about it too before deciding it actually was David Tennant.
Spent the rest of the night playing it cool because I was in that yeah whatever stage of teenage life. Inside I was freaking out.
42. I had the fortune of being on the same plane as Stan Lee. We were being shuttled to another part of the airport. I whispered to what I assumed to be his bodyguard that I didn’t want to lead others on who he was so please just let him know that I appreciate his work. He nodded then whispered into Stan Lee’s ear. He then smiled and put his head down in acknowledgement.
Rest In Peace big guy. You were a big part of my childhood.
43. Jared Leto. I work in an outdoor goods store in Boulder CO, which for those who don’t know is one of the biggest climbing towns in the US. He came into the store to get some stuff as he’s known to travel here and climb with other big pros, notably Alex Honald who is a buddy of his. He had been outted in the middle of the footwear department by a coworker on mine in front of a big group of customers so by the time he got over to the climbing area where I work he was really on edge and unfriendly. I walked up to him and honesty just acted like he wasn’t hot shit. I acted like I didn’t really know who he was and just spoke to him like any other customer even breaking conversation with him at several points to answer questions for other folks as opposed to giving him my full undivided attention.
After about 5 minutes of that he totally relaxed and his entire demeanor changed. He went from being somewhat rude and cold to being very chill, calling me bro etc. and I ended up walking around the store with him for like 25-30 minutes helping him shop. The only time I implied I knew who he was was towards the end as I was ringing him up. He asked me to recommend some climbing spots close to town like the flatirons. It was a beautiful Saturday and I said to him that those places are great but he’ll get bombarded by people if he goes there and I recommended some spots just outside of town instead. He sorta leaned in and thanked me for my discretion and that was it. It seemed like he really just wanted to be treated like a normal guy.
44. I was at IKEA in Vancouver and noticed this lady in a low hanging hat had dropped something. I helped her pick it up and noticed it was Sarah McLachlan. Didn’t let on that I knew who she was because I couldn’t think of anything to say.
45. I helped Steven Spielberg move his daughter’s bags into her college dorm.
I was working a shift helping first-years move in and I see a guy in a hat and sunglasses who is unmistakably Spielberg. I strike up a conversation, ask if he needs help with the bags, etc. First names only — “We’re from CA. My wife, Kate, and I sent all our kids to East Coast schools though.” Stuff like that.
Later, when his daughter opened the door for the first time, he whipped out a camcorder and, wearing the biggest Dad grin, recorded the whole thing before turning the camera on my friend and me to ask us about the city.
So, I have a supporting (the luggage), speaking role in a limited release (home movie) film shot by Steven Spielberg.
46. In the Mid 90’s I was a cab driver. Our service was like a cross between a limo and a taxi, and we serviced some fancy resorts. As I dropped off my passenger at a resort, another guy asks if I’m a taxi, and I say yes, so he tells his friend their cab is here.
His friend got in the car and said “this ain’t no cab, smells too good to be a cab” in that unmistakable Chris Rock voice.
He and his friend just bullshitted with each other for the ~15 minute drive to a local night club. There was a white kid trying to talk to a yellow-cab driver ahead of us in the parking lot and Chris Rock started imitating the kid, like “I need a ride, yeah, I’m drunk, but I need a ride”, and I was trying really hard not to laugh out loud.
He wasn’t nearly as famous yet at the time, but I had seen his stand up routines on Comedy Central and knew exactly who he was, but didn’t go fan-boy on him.
10/10 would drive Chris Rock again.
47. I (almost literally) ran into Shaq at a small restaurant in LA. He was standing in the doorway. You know how some people are so tall you don’t “see” them? So I’m exiting the doorway, and say “excuse me man” and he stepped aside so I could leave. He is one large human being.
48. My dad met Robin Williams in an elevator. He got in and they rode a few floors in silence. They stopped on a floor and a bunch of fans ran in and started getting pics with Robin. My dad said he was gracious and took pics with everyone. The doors closed and they rode a few more floors and my dad turned and said, “Does that ever get old?” and Robin smiled and said, “Nope. Never.” Then my dad got off on his floor and they nodded to one another and my dad went on with his day.
49. I used to be a server at a Mexican restaurant right outside LA in the late 90s. One day Leonardo DiCaprio came in with who I assume was his mom to have lunch. This would’ve been post Titanic so really at the peak of his breakthrough mega celeb status. He was wearing a ball cap, sunglasses and unshaven but I recognized him anyway. I didn’t let anyone know and I wrote something like “your movies are awesome, I hope you liked our food” on his receipt when I dropped it off at the table.
After he left, I swung by and picked up his payment and he had left me a note back that said “thank you so much for not blowing my cover” with a $100 tip. Shit was awesome I was only like 19, I went and got some Playstation games with it after my shift ended.
50. One of my best friends doppelganger is Ethan Hawke. Like it’s scary how much he resembles him, to the point that during those stupid facebook challenges he just changed his profile picture to him and nobody realized it. Also his favorite story was one time at San Diego Comic Con he actually confused Rosario Dawson at a hotel bar.
Anyway one night I’m walking home from work in NYC, and I see who I thought was my friend, John just walking on a kind of secluded part of of 9th ave around Hells Kitchen, and I yell “JOHN!”
He doesn’t turn around.
So I decide to yell it again, and instead of responding his pace quickens. I decide the best thing to do is to run at him which seemed to terrify him as keep in mind it’s late and there are very few people around. Anyway I catch up to him and say “Oh, you’re not John” and then walk away from what was a very frightened Ethan Hawke.