Travelers Who Encountered Celebrities On The Road Share Their Stories

Travelers Who Encountered Celebrities On The Road Share Their Stories

Excuse me, do you know who I AM?

Okay, to be fair, they're definitely not all like that. In fact, most of these celebrity encounters are quite sweet -- or just human. Celebrities are, after all, just people at the end of the day.

On the other hand, some of them make you wonder if famous people aren't being raised in a bar somewhere.

These are the best stories about travelers who encountered celebrities along the way. Watch your step: you're on the red carpet now!

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41. Before The Nightmare Before

I sat next to Tim Burton on a flight from SFO to LAX about eighteen years ago. He was frantically sketching in a book with a pencil. I eventually saw those characters he was drawing that day in The Nightmare Before Christmas. It was way AWESOME!

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40. Dave Chappelle flies coach

Dave Chappelle, back in 2006. We were sitting in coach on a flight to NYC. I was already seated and getting settled in, and happened to look up just as he was walking towards me. At first it didn't register that it was him and I just smiled back at him because he was smiling at me. Two seconds pass, it dawns on me that it's Dave Chappelle, and I give him a quick thumbs up. His smile widens, he gives a thumbs up back and winks, then sits down two rows behind me. It was awesome.


39. That's baller

My dad and I ran into Michael Jordan at a store in Chicago. This was back in 2006 or so.

We were just browsing for something 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 racks, 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.

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38. Are you sure you weren't in Maine?

I was visiting an old book store in Rhode Island 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?"


"Good books."


And that was that.



37. Please clap

I was in Tokyo, Japan and was visiting the Square Cutout tower with my grandparents. We were trying to take a family picture when an American businessman offered to take the picture for us. He did it, we said thank you, and afterwords as after he was going down the escalator one of his Asian entourage told us that he was actually Jeb Bush. My grandparents nearly crapped themselves.

24596458235_36a736c8f9_6k-300x200.jpgMichael Vadon/Flickr

36. I would be scared to meet Sam too

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.

28769138237_bbaa6005d8_o-300x200.jpgGage Skidmore/Flickr

35. An autograph for an autograph

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 stupid napkin with him for years.

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34. Conan the barbarian

Conan O’Brien. My college friend’s dad owned an Irish restaurant in Manhattan and she waitressed there back in the 1990s. She said he was super rude to the staff and was a bad tipper.

One day a bunch of us were visiting New York and we saw him at a sidewalk cafe. We stopped and stared and he noticed we were talking about him. My other friend went up to his table and asked him to take a picture of us and handed him her camera. His friends at the table had a huge laugh at his expense as we posed for a picture without him in it. We never let on we knew who he was.

Now we all hold dear an off-center photo of us with a funny back story

19660851891_7f411c7aba_o-300x200.jpgGage Skidmore/Flickr

33. The bodyguard

My mom is a big sports fan. One we were in LA at a mall and she 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 wierd-looking dude, 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."

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32. Did I mention I'm on TV?

Not sure if this counts as a celebrity, but last fall I was flying from LA to Dallas and the person sitting next to me was a 'real housewife' from Bravo. I didn't recognize her since I don't watch her show, but she did mention it to me multiple times during the flight. She wanted to apologize in advance in case there were fans hounding her at the baggage claim. Spoiler alert - there weren't.

Hours later when I was checking into my hotel, she was there in the lobby and made sure to tell me again that she was on TV.

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31. A drink with Justin

I met Justin Timberlake and had no idea it was him until someone told me afterwards.

My dad and I went to a basketball game in Minnesota 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 drink.

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 breeze 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.

I never got a good look at Jessica Biel. She was wearing sunglasses as well but she didn't say anything at all during our conversation and since I didn't even realize I was talking to Justin Timberlake, I wasn't about to gawk at this random beautiful woman while talking to her husband.

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30. Trolling Elon Musk

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 screwing with you."

He laughed and shook my hand and walked off.

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29. It never gets old

My dad met Robin Williams in a hotel 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.


28. Did he talk to the snakes?

I was 10 years old and on vacation in 2002 when my mom took me to the 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 horde, 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.

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27. You literally forgot about Dre

When I was younger with fewer responsibilities I used to just drive around for the heck 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.

36079964425_ce61ec4ca9_o-300x180.jpgSebastian Vital/Flickr

26. You got bitten by the Wolf

Wolf Blitzer was a monumental jerk to me in 2004.

I was in Atlanta and staying at the Omni Hotel, which also hosts CNN HQ. I was drinking in the hotel bar one night after an exhausting day. I just wanted a drink and some socializing, but not too much.

So I sit next to this dude and get a drink. Keep in mind, we're sitting close together at a bar, so I never really turn to look at him. Small talk ensues and he talks about his work and how his travel schedule is killing him. We commiserated as I traveled a lot back then. I could tell he was baiting me to ask him more and more questions but I just wasn't into it.

Finally he implies that he was on TV so I bite: "Oh yeah? Have I seen you on anything in particular?"

Incensed, he responds: "YES, I'M WOLF [BLEEPING] BLITZER."

Sorry dude. I paid my tab and left.

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25. R.I.P. Stan Lee

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 to 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.

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24. A walk with Sigourney

My father-in-law legitimately didn't know who she was. But 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.

28542043731_a5d2b5cb9a_o-300x200.jpgGage Skidmore/Flickr

23. Scaring the crap out of Ethan Hawke

One of my best friend's doppelgänger 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 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. So 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.

800px-Ethan_Hawke_66e%CC%80me_Festival_de_Venise_Mostra_7-300x200.jpgNicolas Genin/Wikimedia

22. Back in Black

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 and she was like, “Wow, that guy on my lift was so nice.” We were like NO CRAP 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 butts off.

5828447188_539c52a078_o-300x200.jpgEva Rinaldi/Flickr

21. Did he say "wow"?

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  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.


20. You just yelled at James Bond

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 his 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."



19. Getting into a fight with a star of Harry Potter

Robert Newhouse

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18. Going in the same direction

Shelby Marcus Ocana

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17. Celebs are dads too

On a flight back from Utah to LA a few months ago there was a young family on the plane a few seats behind me. It was a small regional jet so only about 40 seats.


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16. You shall not sit!

Dan Armstrong


15. Hit me baby one more time

Daniel Ryan

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14. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

John Favaro


13. Are you really Aragorn?

Terra Renee

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12. The hedgehog in Iceland

Curt Thurston


11. 'You did a good job with your son'

Robert Maguire

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10. Do you believe in Magic?

About 5 years ago my dad was in LA for business and got into the elevator of his hotel to head down to one of his meetings. When he got in, he instantly recognized a huge, legendary, hall-of-fame LA Laker standing next to him. Normally, my father would never say anything but for some reason felt compelled to introduce himself. He stuck out his hand and said, "Shaq, it's nice to meet ya." He immediately realized he messed up and the guy responded, "I'm Magic Johnson but it's nice to meet you too." The secondhand embarrassment is real.


9. Let the memes commence

My husband was vacationing in California, killing time in a bar over a burger and a drink. A guy sits next to him and my husband has a nice chat with him. The guy leaves and my husband goes to close his tab and the bartender tells him it’s been covered by the guy he was talking to.

The bartender asks if he knows who he was talking to. My husband has no idea. Chuck Norris, it was his bar.

By the way, this was Woody’s Wharf in Newport, California. The restaurant still exists today.

8. Dexter gets framed

I actually had no clue I was sitting next to a celebrity in an airport for about 90 minutes.

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. The 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.

9348086360_335ffe0c38_o-300x200.jpgGage Skidmore/Flickr

7. BJ and the Bear

John Granger

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6. Never scream at a man with a radio show

David Seidman

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5. No pleasure Cruise

I was in LA and got into 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 crap, one of the worst movies I've ever seen, plot didn't make sense, they strung a bunch of nonsensical scenes together and put a dumb 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 pointed 4 seats down in my row to Tom Cruise, who was 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.

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4. You can't beet Rainn Wilson

Me and my wife were on a trip for 9 days with Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) and his family. We both belong to the same religious minority and I unknowingly picked the same dates as him and his family to go on a guided pilgrimage.

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.

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3. Heather Locklear needs directions

Yep, it was Heather Locklear of Dynasty fame. I was completely speechless. Now I’m not one to get starstruck whenever I see famous people. But this was Heather Locklear!!! I always thought she was good looking on TV but seeing her in person - she was absolutely gorgeous! Especially when wearing a tank top and a pair of short shorts. Even if she wasn’t a television personality she was just beautiful.

She stopped to ask me a question - she asked if I knew where a certain hotel was. Well, after picking my jaw up off the ground and wiping the drool from my face… and more than a few seconds of awkward silence, I stumbled out some words that she probably/hopefully understood to be directions to the hotel. I’m sure my hand gestures and finger pointing towards some object in the distance helped a little as well. She thanked me and headed off in the direction I pointed.

Once she walked off, I stood there just staring at her thinking to myself “What an idiot she must think I am!” I could have walked her to her hotel! But noooooooo, I mumbled and pointed and sent her off on her way.

It was five minutes of my life I will never forget.

Patrick Laciste

800px-Me_with_Heather_Locklear_2078345484-300x200.jpgAlan Light/Wikimedia

2. In the danger zone with Dangerfield

Sandy Davis


1. How to get free tickets

This was the best ride of my life in coach, 1986, when Continental Airlines served real drinks on the flights. I'm not going to tell you who the celebrity is, but it's a good story anyway.

Michael Rasch

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