It was not the first brush with fame I have ever had, but it certainly was the most unexpected.
Up until this point, pretty much every celebrity or athlete I have met was through my job in the newspaper industry.
Many years ago I met and had my picture taken with Bill Cosby, one of the funniest men alive.
The Cos was touring and I wrangled a press pass to take some pictures of the legendary comic.
Each performer has their own rules for taking pictures, so I asked one of his managers to clarify what I was allowed to do.
I was standing in a hallway of a hockey arena when another man comes out of a dressing room and asks, “Are you the photographer?”
"Yes, I am.”
"Bill would like to meet you.”
My first thought was, Bill who? Was the manager's name Bill? Was the head of security named Bill?
They might of been, but the Bill who wanted to meet me was 'The' Bill. The Cos himself had graciously invited me into his dressing room for a a brief chat and a picture.
Now I know what a deer in the headlights feels like. I was stunned. Usually you can't get within 100 feet of the celebs before they go on stage and here was one of the biggest of all time inviting me into his room.
I entered and there he was, sitting on a couch, huge cigar in hand watching a boxing match.
I walked in, sat down and looked over and could not utter a single word. I mean, what can you say to someone of that stature.
His manager took our picture, I shook his hand and wondered off amazed at what had just happened.
It was a very surreal moment and one that did not fully register immediately.
I also walked straight into The Great One Wayne Gretzky a few years back when the men's Olympic hockey team was holding their tryouts.
Wayne was in front of his hotel signing autographs, posing for pictures and basically hanging out for a few minutes when he could have just walked past everyone and hid in his room.
After all, he is the greatest hockey player of all time and not some minor leaguer trying to work his way to the top. But there he was, glad-handing and chatting it up with a very enthralled group of people.
A class act through and through.
While those encounters were somewhat possible because I knew the celebs were in town, the one that happened in Vancouver recently was a total surprise.
His name is Norman Reedus and he plays a character named Daryl Dixon on the very popular and quite grotesque The Walking Dead.
It is a show about survivors of a zombie apocalypse and Reedus' character is the most popular on the show.
I was walking through a mall in Granville Island when this guy passed us who looks exactly like Norman.
My first thought was, “Naaa, couldn't be.”
But then I overheard someone say “signing autographs” and “Daryl Dixon” so I did a 180 and went hoofing after the man who was by himself wearing a backpack vest and baseball cap.
I caught up to him and said, “Um, excuse me, are you Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead.”
"Yes, I am.”
I could not think of a single thing to say after that. He shook my hand and I mumbled how cool it was to meet him, loved the show etc.
He too was quite gracious an posed for a picture with my son and I before shaking our hands again and going about his day.
Thanks Norman, that was very cool.