The Only Famous Person I Ever Met

In keeping with my writing goal, I’m forcing myself to write something before the week’s out. I’ve got an exam tomorrow, so this will be a bit rushed. This is just an amusing anecdote from college, hopefully others will find it amusing as well.

I’m pretty sure I’ve only met one famous person. Like, in my entire life. The funny thing is, I have no idea who he was. In fact, he might not even be famous. I only assume he was based on the way he acted. Here’s how it went down:

It was my senior year of college, and I was working an evening shift at a fast food restaurant. This guy comes in and asks if he can use the phone. I say “of course, no problem” and point out the phone on the counter. He thanked me, and I went back to work.

Or at least, I tried to. Instead of reaching for the phone, he just stood there staring at me with a smirk on his face. This was unusual for sober customers, so I asked, “can I help you with something? Do you need the phone book?” Again, he just said he needed to make a call and kept staring at me. Unnerved, I stared back. Eventually he lost his smirk and leaned over the phone as if to make a call. He seemed really disappointed, but I had no idea why. How could I know? Again I tried to go back to work.

I look up and he’s standing by the cash register. He didn’t call anybody. He’s staring and smirking again, smirking even harder if that’s possible. I’m thinking, “well, you really showed that phone, didn’t you? Not making a call, even when you really wanted to.” I asked again “can I help you?” He said, slowly, “no, I just need to make a phone call.” I said, “OK, it’s right there, go ahead.” At that, he lost his smirk. Some new emotion crept over his face, something between bafflement and devastation.

Somehow I’d upset him by trying to help him. Why? What did I miss? Was there something implied in his innocuous request? Something sinister? Perhaps he had us mixed up with a shadier type of establishment, one where “can I make a phone call?” was code for “a gram of heroin, if you please?” I was incapable of divining his intent. All I had to go on was that he asked to use the phone, so all I could do was assume he really did want to use the phone and was just really slow about it.

Not knowing what else to do, I asked, “Do you need directions? Are you trying to go somewhere?” He abruptly turned and made for the door. As he left, he said “I’m going somewhere where someone recognizes me!

And that is when I realized I’d met a famous person. The phone call was a ruse. That whole time, he’d been maximizing the time I spent looking at his face so I could recognize him. His smirk was a “yeah, it’s me” kind of smirk. Turns out that smirk was premature. He left, defeated, his ego bruised and his fame called into question. All by some college kid at a hoagie shop. Oh well, I’m sure he found someone to recognize him and forgot the whole thing. I, on the other hand, will always remember our encounter as the first and only time I met a famous person.