Have you ever randomly met a celebrity?


I was working late nights at Wal-Mart here in Tucson AZ several years ago. My shift was 9 pm to 6am.

One night a man walked up with his groceries at about 2 am or so; during that time there are only a handful of customers per hour. I remarked to him that he looked like Stephen King. He told me “I get told that a lot.” As I rung up his purchases and bagged them I continued jokingly saying there you go Mr. King. Etc. Eventually he asked if I wanted an autograph and I told him no it was just cool to meet him and I bet he gets tired of doing autographs all the time. He smiled, thanked me and left.


The next week he came in again and bought groceries and some odds and ends and I said “Did you find everything okay Mr. King?” He again asked if I wanted the autograph and again I said no it was fine. It was cool that I got to meet him again and that was enough for me. He smiled and thanked me and I wished him a good night as he left.

Eventually this became a bit of a ritual and he would come in about once a week to buy stuff and we would just casually talk random stuff during the few minutes it took to ring him up and bag his stuff. I don’t think we even talked about books we just spoke about stuff in Tucson and weather and other small talk. I think he enjoyed just being treated like a regular customer even though it was clear I recognized him, knew what he did and respected his work.

He only came to the store for about 2-3 months. Maybe he was in town on vacation or was staying in a vacation home in the Catalina Foothills for the season. I don’t know but it was pretty cool. I spoke with him maybe a dozen or more times. He was a pretty cool guy. He would even occasionally ask me where to find stuff as I was not doing stocking at that time of the night because I was the only one working the front checkout. I generally try to remind myself to stay cool around celebrities the few times I have met them as I am sure it must get tiring to be fawned all over left and right by fans.
When I was a kid I sat next to Kenny Rogers on a plane. He quietly sung me a song and I was obsessed with Kenny Rogers till I was like 9.
When I was working customer service for an internet service provider I spoke to James Franco whom was having trouble with his password on his account.

I would take 40-100 calls a day 5 days a week 52 weeks a year for the three years I worked there. So I probably answered over 30-50,000 calls in my time working there. It was only a matter of time before one of them was a celebrity.

The funny thing was he couldn’t verify his account initially. He had a password on the account for verification and forgot that too. So he gave me all of his billing information including his last four of his social which is the alternate verification if someone forgets the password. I helped him get back into the account eventually but it was an interesting call anyhow. He even had the account under a different billing name than his own for security which he knew. I just treated it like any other call and made sure he verified everything by the book. Then we got him back online and on his way.


Ariel Williams



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