Interesting People

Interesting People

It is so interesting the people you meet on the street. I was watching a rerun of pawn stars on the history channel and Rick (my favorite character) assigned Chumlee to take a guitar and have it signed by the members a visiting Rock Band. I think it was Metallica. Well Chumlee attempted to get the signatures, but he could not find the band. So while he is walking on the street he spots a big catch and eventually has Prince (a pretty good solo artist) to sign the guitar. He is sure “Rick” will be thrilled to get the signature.

When he gets back to the store, he tells his tale and for about one minute he is a hero. Upon examination, it does seem improbable that such an event could take e place even in Los Vegas where celebrity watching is a local past time. Now this Prince guy was very convincing so he had good reason to believe he was doing the right thing. Unfortunately the individual turned out to be a Prince Impersonator, so the signature and the guitar were now worth nothing at all. Of course he was teased without mercy back at the store. You have to love a guy like Chumlee who made a simple yet complete mistake.

Oh course I recon most of us make celebrity sightings from time to time. I once saw Dan Quall in a motorcade in Washington DC while he was Vice President. True I was not impressed either. My wife swears she saw Glen Campbell in the Indianapolis international Airport. I was there but if it was him then Mr. Campbell he had spent way too much time on the Wichita line. Talk about not aging well. Wow.

Now I did meet Zoro. He, I and the lady who ran the gift shop were the only three people on the observation deck one very foggy night on the Empire State Building. It was a brief encounter; I was getting on the elevator as he was getting off and our exchange went something like good evening and I believe he said hello. No more than that. Unfortunately Zoro chose to jump from that level while I took the elevator. If we were racing I believe he won. I was happy however I did not know until the next day that we had been racing. If his intent had been a race I would have gladly declared him the winner, pre-jump of course.

This brings me to one of the oddest encounters I have ever had. It occurred in front of the CNN building in Atlanta. For some strange reason I went to the CNN building to see about taking a tour, and found they were not being given that day. As I exited the building, I heard a man calling hey Indiana, hey Indiana.

I was wearing a sweat shirt that said Indiana University Alumni and a hat bearing the school colors and logo. Unless there was other Indiana alumni walking around that late fall day I figured he must be talking to me. I stopped and immediately I regretted that decision. The guy was homeless and obviously looking for a few dollars.

So the guy walks up and tells me he is from Indiana and I ask where, figuring that it would buy me some time to escape. The obvious answers when someone says they are from Indiana, is Indianapolis, Gary, or maybe Evansville. But his answer floored me. He said my home town of Kokomo. Now who in the world knows the name of a city, named Kokomo? I cannot imagine anyone that I can think of saying Kokomo. He tells me he grew up on Jay Street, a main street in my in my neighborhood in the 1600 bock. Well I grew up not more than 5 blocks away from there so I asked his name and instantly I knew why this guy was bugging me. He was the brother of one of my friends in grade school.

Certainly this guy was older, maybe 4 to 6 years older but yes now that he mentioned it I could the family resemblance. He told me his moms name, sure enough that checked out, and he knew the name my friend, his brother. Slowly bur certainly, I came to realize that he and I had probably met at some point in my childhood. It was totally unbelievably and cool.

So we talked a while, yes I am sucker I gave him a $20 bill, and he asked me to do him a favor. He asked that I go see his mother. He said he had not seen or talked to her in about 10 years and he hoped I would go see her on his behalf. Tasked with such an unusual mission we parted and upon my return and after a few weeks I did go see her. She sort of remembered me and maybe half believed the story, just as I know you are half believing it as well. Let’s face it a man shows up and says he saw your long lost homeless son in Atlanta and well it is a difficult to believe. Truth is once she knew I was genuine. She started to cry. Yes it was her son, yes she had not heard from him in over 10 years, no she had no idea about Atlanta. I cannot say she was relieved, but she asked me to tell the story perhaps 20 times. Each time she would say again and again thank you for bringing this part of my son back. I gave her a small charm he asked me to carry back to her.

She wanted to pay me for my trouble, would $100.00 do it? No I said, my adventure was worth far more than $100.00, but not for her to pay, if anything I owed her for the privilege of helping the two of them out. If there was money to be exchanged, I explained I owed her, not the other way around.

Yeah sometimes you meet the most interesting people.



Oh my yes. I have used mass transit a lot in my life. Here in Portland, with our excellent light rail system, it is especially good. I remember when my daughter was about 6 or 7, I was trying to help her understand the difference between eccentric behavior and scary behavior in strangers. My particular routes always offered great teaching moments.

I particularly remember two: Butterfly Lady---Every inch of her torso was decorated with a gaudy butterfly pin and she loved to chat you up, but was also never clingy when you needed to get off. Who knows how many of her great stories were real? And Canary Man---He always had a live canary sitting on the brim of his old Fedora and like Butterfly Lady, bird pins and tattoos all over him....

I love hearing people's stories. Everybody has a story to tell and everybody loves to tell their story. I'm happy for you, Rick, that you were able to enrich and embellish this man's story.....Blessings...Judith in Portland

Talk about a small world. You sure do get around Rick. :) That's a sad story though. I'm happy that you delivered his message to his Mom. I'm sure she was terribly worried about him and misses him a lot. That was very kind of you.

I am glad you shared this story Rick. Just think of the peace you brought to this mother, and to your long lost friend. You have made my heart smile, again.