Was it him?. My favorite baseball player, Ryan Zimmerman. I am a big Washington Nationals fan. Love em.
At first, I was not sure if it was Ryan. Perhaps my eyes were playing a trick on me. I peeked around the corner again. Now I could tell it was definitely Ryan.
What in the world was he doing in the Reston Target store pushing around a shopping cart?
I decided to make the most of the situation and introduce myself.
I had to keep my cool. No one likes a spaz, especially famous people.
Ryan was not interested in talking
I walked up to Ryan and tried a sly introduction — ‘you look a lot like Ryan Zimmerman’. He responded, ‘yes I do’, and kept moving.
It was clear right away that Ryan did not feel like talking. Perhaps he was mad that his wife dragged him shopping. I hate shopping. Perhaps he does too.
It was a shame that we didn’t get a chance to talk.
I have a foul ball that he hit as a special souvenir. I fielded it at a Washington Nationals game Riley and I attended. Awesome dad moment.
Someone I know won a chance to meet Ryan and got the ball signed for me. It is one of my few prized possessions.
Why I wrote this billboard
Every time I am in the same vicinity as famous people I do my best to introduce myself. Nothing complicated — I simply say hello and shake hands.
I wrote this billboard as a reminder to take that chance even if it does work out like my encounter with Ryan Zimmerman.
I should include one caveat — I would never break expected etiquette or proper protocol to meet someone famous.
That would be rude and potentially dangerous.
One of the top comments I get from people is, ‘Oh my God, you’re like a regular person!’ That’s kind of a bizarre thing to live with. I know a lot of famous people, and their lives may not be regular, but they are regular people.
Kevin Bacon, famous American actor
My next opportunity to meet a sports star
Last October I stepped into the elevator in my building and noticed an African-American man who looked like Adrian Peterson.
Once again I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. The elevator was packed so I did not get a chance to say hello.
When I exited the elevator I asked another passenger if she thought the man in question was Adrian Peterson. Who is that?
She was no help at all, so I decided to ask a more reliable source.
Adrian Peterson lived in my building last year
I called a colleague at work who lives in the same building that I do. I think I saw Adrian Peterson in our building. My friend was not sure.
He heard a few Washington Redskins were living there during the season. Perhaps Adrian was one of them. He recommended I talk to our concierge.
I did. He confirmed what I saw. Adrian Peterson was living in the same building as me. Wow. I hoped I would get a chance to meet him some time.
Adrian was nice and let me take a selfie
One day I left something important in my condo. I swung by my building in between meetings to retrieve the item.
As I entered the lobby, Adrian Peterson strolled around the corner. I introduced myself. He shook my hand and said hello.
I asked how he was doing and let him know I was hoping for a good season. Adrian laughed and said he was feeling good.
His job was to help get the team back in the playoffs. I asked Adrian if I could take a selfie with him. I let him know that my family is lifelong Redskin fans.
He said sure.
Many of my friends wanted to meet him
I posted my picture with Adrian on Facebook. It was my most liked post from last year.
Many of my friends who are Redskin fans suddenly wanted to hang out with me…just in case, Adrian walked by. I knew they were kidding.
It became a joke with some of them. The funny thing is that I never saw Adrian again in the building.
Probably best — he ended up injured and the Redskins had another awful season. It is tough being a Washington fan.
How I incorporated this billboard into my life
You will likely have an opportunity to meet famous people at some point in your life. I am no one special and I have met a few.
I bet it will happen again someday. I still live in the same building. For the record — it is a nice condo, but nothing fancy.
BTW — I met another Redskin, Vernon Davis, on a flight back to DC last year. He was super nice.
What about you?
Do you know what to do when you see someone famous that you would like to meet?
Go ahead. Do it. Walk over and say hi.
Best case scenario you meet someone famous.
Worst case — they blow you off as Ryan Zimmerman did to me. Life will go on, and you won’t kick yourself later for being a chicken.
Introduce yourself to your neighbors. You never know who lives next door.
I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it.