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19 Wild Celebrity Encounter Stories From "Normal" People Who Didn't Even Realize They Were Famous
Imagine ranting about how much you hate Tom Cruise's new movie without realizing Tom Cruise is sitting next to you.by Lauren Garafano
If you're like me, then you're probably baffled whenever you see celebrities doing normal things, because they really are just like us! But have you ever wondered how many famous people you've actually encountered IRL and didn't even know it?
Well, a few years back, Reddit user u/Kimantha_Allerdings asked people to share their funniest "I met a celebrity but didn't let on that I knew who they were" stories. Here are just some of the wild responses:
1. "My mom is a big sports fan. One time she was shopping and saw a really large, fit-looking man who she didn't immediately recognize but seemed familiar..."
"She thought it must have been a professional football player or something, so she went up to the only other person in the shop, who was this smaller weird-looking guy, 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.'"
Rick Diamond / Getty Images
2. "One night I'm walking home from work, and I see who I thought was my friend, John, just walking around Hell's Kitchen, and I yell, 'JOHN!' but 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 — 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."
Taylor Hill / FilmMagic
3. "We were vacationing in Maine and spending a lot of time on the beach. My father-in-law would walk his dog early every morning..."
"He met this lady, and they would meet up and walk their dogs together and 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."
Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images
4. "I was 10 years old in 2002 when my mom took me to the Bronx Zoo for the first time. It was a rainy day, so we practically had the whole place to ourselves except for three British kids running around, chaperoned by a woman..."
"My mom quickly befriended the woman while I made like a kid and joined the hoard, looking at spiders and scorpions and sharing in the awe and excitement of the animals. About an hour after 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."
Dave Hogan / Getty Images
5. "My mom yelled at Pierce Brosnan..."
"She and my dad were at a ski resort getting lunch. My mother gets quite hangry 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 there, mouth wide open in shock. "Do you know who that was?" "No?!" "That was Pierce Brosnan. You just yelled at James Bond!" "Well, he shouldn't have tried to cut me."
Ian West - Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images
6. "My cousin rode a ski lift with Jack Black in Vail, Colorado, 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, and we made our way to her. She was like, “Wow, that guy on my lift was so nice.” We were like, "NO SHIT, 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 asses off."
Kevin Winter / Getty Images
7. "My wife took my son to the zoo, and he wanted to read every little plaque in the reptile area. My wife was distracted for a moment, so he asked the nearest stranger to read the plaque for him..."
"My wife turned around to see Scarlett Johansson happily reading the info to him."
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images
8. "About five 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 realized he messed up when the guy responded, 'I'm Magic Johnson, but it's nice to meet you too.' The secondhand embarrassment is real."
Randy Holmes / ABC via Getty Images
9. "When I was 15, I was really into playing Starcraft. After finishing this one particularly epic match (close game, we won), we all got into a chat room to talk about how fun it was..."
"One of them says something to the effect of 'Not sure if you all care, but you just beat Ben Affleck.' Of course, we all ask him to prove it, so he told us to wait a minute and visit his official website's message board. He had just made a post in red (red meant it was Ben Affleck himself) about just losing a game of Starcraft."
Arturo Holmes / Getty Images
10. "I was working a shift helping first-year college students move in. I see a guy in a hat and sunglasses. I strike up a conversation, ask if he needs help with the bags..."
"He gives first names only — 'We're from California. My wife, Kate, and I sent all our kids to East Coast schools though.' Stuff like that. Later, when his daughter opened the door for the first time, he whipped out a camcorder and, wearing the biggest dad grin, recorded the whole thing before turning the camera on my friend and me to ask us about the city. So, I have a supporting (the luggage), and speaking role in a limited release (home movie) film shot by Steven Spielberg."
Michael Tran / AFP via Getty Images
11. "My friend's mom owns a small Asian grocery store. Post Malone came walking in with his girlfriend, and my friend's mom had no idea who he was..."
"A few cute things happened: 1. She was nervous because of his tattoos, but happy/not worried once he bought a lot of food. She had no idea he was a celebrity.
2. She gave him a free snack for buying so much food and told him to come back for lunchtime for cheap and tasty gyoza (he did come back the next day!).
3. She was worried he would get mugged going to his car because of three big men outside, so she followed him outside (they were his bodyguards).
4. She really liked his 'cool car' (it was a Lamborghini).
When Post Malone came back the next day for gyoza, she got a selfie with him. The whole thing is adorable with how innocent his mom is."
Jason Koerner / Getty Images
12. "I worked at a movie theater in Albuquerque at the time they were filming the first Avengers film..."
"Captain America was about to come out; I remember because we had the huge standee of him in the lobby. I was reading in the box office when three people came up. The guy asked for three tickets to Bridesmaids. It was dark out, and he had a green baseball cap and sunglasses. He paid with a credit card. Christopher Evans. I stared at the card after I swiped it. Handed it back. 'I need you to sign the receipt'; he did. And then he walked in."
Vera Anderson / WireImage
13. "A couple of years ago, me and my sister were at Comic-Con. We 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 blonde hair were. 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 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."
Picture Alliance / dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images
14. "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, we said thank you, and afterward as he was going down the escalator one of his Asian entourage told us it was Jeb Bush. My grandparents nearly shit themselves."
Medianews Group / MediaNews Group via Getty Images
15. "My father was coming back from work and stepped around a bus that was outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC. As he came around, someone else was coming the other way, and they bumped into each other..."
"My father apologized, and the guy just gave him a smile, letting him know that it was cool. As he walked away, my dad looked back again and realized that it was Henry Winkler, and he almost knocked him on his ass."
Randy Holmes / ABC via Getty Images
16. "I went to a basketball game with my dad, and we stopped by the bar area in the arena first. I walk up to the bar to order a beer. 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 shit for a couple of 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?'"
Picture Alliance / dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images
17. "I was at a convenience store in LA when me and a very nicely dressed gentleman walked up to the cashier at the same time to pay...
"It was nighttime, and he had his dark shades on and was talking on his phone. I gave him the 'after you' gesture, and he nodded and said, 'Thanks buddy,' paid, and left. It wasn't until he was out of the store that I realized he was Jamie Foxx."
James Devaney / GC Images
18. "My dad met Robin Williams in an 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."
Anthony Harvey / Getty Images
19. "I was at a test screening of the movie Valkyrie. My friends and I 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 shit, one of the worst movies I've ever seen.' After I wrap up my five-minute rant outlining everything wrong with War of the Worlds, the person sitting behind us tapped me on the shoulder and points four seats down in my row to Tom Cruise 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."
Cbs Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images
Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.
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