Everything Else

I met a celebrity! Kind of.

As if my trip to the BlogHer Food conference in Atlanta wasn’t an exciting enough weekend, I happened to have a thrilling encounter on Sunday morning before returning to Florida. This story pretty much demonstrates how incredibly awkward I can be…and how I will never manage to meet a celebrity in real life. Come on along with me, will you?

It was 8:00am on Sunday morning. My mom and I were getting ready to leave Atlanta, but before doing so we had an incredibly important mission. Sadly, Florida is not home to a single Trader Joe’s, but there are a number of them in the Atlanta area. After a little sleuthing I located the nearest one to our hotel, and we arrived right as the store opened in order to stock our car before driving home. After perusing the aisles and trying to restrain myself from buying everything on the shelves, we walked up to the check out line. I paid for my groceries and then waited as my mom had her items scanned.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a man walk up to the check out lane behind us. He was in a pair of khaki cargo shorts, a gray tee shirt, and Birkenstock sandals. Normal. But, there was something about him…

It took me about 4 seconds to register who I was looking at. Oh…my…gosh. My eyes widened to the size of saucers, and I’m quite sure that my mouth started to hang open ever so slightly. Is it him? No…couldn’t be. But dang it…it looked just like him.

So, who was I staring at? His name is Andrew Lincoln…and you would know him from 1- my all time FAVORITE movie “Love Actually,” in which his character stood outside Kiera Knightley’s door confessing his love to her via posterboard (I tear up every time). Or, 2- more recently: he is the lead actor in the AMC television show “The Walking Dead.”

Andrew Lincoln

There he was, standing in line behind us at Trader Joe’s. My mother was completely unaware of his presence, and I suddenly felt the need to inform her and get a second opinion/confirmation that I wasn’t dreaming up a celebrity out of nowhere. I sidled up beside her and out of the corner of my mouth I whispered,

“look to your left. Do you recognize that guy? He’s from ‘Love Actually.’ Don’t be obvious…”

She turned her head and assessed. She looked back at me and muttered,

“that isn’t the guy from Love Actually. Why would he be in Atlanta?”

Skeptic. Typical.

It was at that moment that I overheard the cashier make a comment to him. The cashier said something along the lines of “glad to know that you’re still alive after all of those zombies.” SNAP! IT IS HIM! I knew it.

My mom and I pushed our cart out into the parking lot, and I was finally able to speak at a regular volume.

“Mom! That is totally him!”

I mimicked holding a posterboard and saying the line “and my wasted heart will love you…until you look like this…”

“Do you want me to ask him to take a picture with you?”

“Ack, I don’t know! I don’t even know his name. Wouldn’t it be rude to say something like, ‘hey – are you the guy from Love Actually?’ Wouldn’t you be offended a little bit that someone didn’t know your name?”

Oh, the indecision! We stood outside for a minute, contemplating what we should do when he emerged from the store. Seconds later, he walked outside carrying his two grocery bags and headed right toward us. He walked to the car parked next to ours (a white Ford SUV) and climbed in. My mom looked at me and said,

“See? That can’t be him! Why would he be driving a Ford? In Atlanta.”

No…I couldn’t be wrong! I thought about it for a second…and then – lightbulb!

“Mom, have you ever seen ‘The Walking Dead?’ It takes place in Atlanta.”

“Oh my gosh! IT WAS HIM! Why didn’t we get a picture?”


It is at time like these that I wish I was a little bit more impulsive in nature. Who knows what would have happened if we’d stopped him to say hi? I’m quite sure he would have been nice about it, but then again…we’ll never know for certain. Clearly, the sighting of/being in close proximity to a celebrity of any kind renders me unable to speak or think properly. My mind turned to mush in the moment, and I’m quite sure I would have rambled incoherently to him if I attempted to speak at all. Ah, well. Maybe next time I’ll be better prepared for these types of situations.

So…have you ever had a celebrity encounter in the past? What happened?


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  • See, this is when being a loudmouth with no filter comes in handy, because I have zero awkwardness when I see celebrities. I’m that idiot that just marches up to them and annoys them, and then later thinks about it and is like, I should really learn to just be cool. 😛 Living in Nashville and Atlanta, I’ve met a lot of celebrities, but my favorite was when I marched up to James Brown in Augusta. It was very cool to meet him, even if I didn’t understand a dang word he said.

  • Ha! Believe it or not, a lot of things are filmed in Atlanta, so there are celebrity spottings pretty regularly. My sister-in-law actually met Allison Hanigan at lunch yesterday. I am generally pretty oblivious to what’s going on around me, so of course I never see anyone.

    But I do have to know – was it the Trader Joe’s in Midtown? or Buckhead?

    • Jenn – it was the one listed on their site as the “Atlanta” location; it is the southernmost one…right by a Mellow Mushroom/kind of by GA Tech…

      Sarah – YES. However, I might be biased a bit because he reminds me of my hubby w/the blue eyes/light brown hair. They are about the same height/stature as well. Go figure.

      Ali – I totally get that too. I would feel terrible interrupting someone eating dinner or whatnot! I’d imagine that would be annoying.

  • SO cool…I love the show Walking Dead and would have been totally star struck if I had seen him! Is he as good looking in person?

  • That’s so cool! And kudos for recognizing him, too. I love that movie!

    I saw Vince Vaughn walking his dog once while I was walking Sunday, but I didn’t say anything. Not sure why other than that I’m not a huge fan, so it would have felt kind of weird…

  • What a fun story! I’ve encountered a few celebrities but I’ve haven’t talked to most of them. I try not to bother them unless it’s a function where they would expect to be bothered. Usually, I’m a dinner or something & don’t want to interrupt their meal… you know?

  • OMG! Hilarious. I would not have know him for anything other then the Love Actually guy … I also totally would *not* have said anything because I would have been an awkward mess. For those lovers of all things Love Actually … Colin of the “I’m going to WISCONSIN” fame is on a new TV show ‘Traffic Light’ … I give the show a B but him an A!

    • Colleen – YES! I noticed “Colin” showing up on those previews recently! Hilarious. Also – I know that most of the girls he hooked up with in that scene were recognizable, but I never put 2 and 2 together that one of them was January Jones…it is weird to see her not dressed as Betty Draper.

  • That is awesome, and I totally didn’t connect him between Love Actually and The Walking Dead! Love it! I would have totally chickened out and not taken a picture 🙂

  • My husband and I were on the same flight as John Stamos on our honeymoon. After much discussion, we decided to say hi while waiting at baggage claim. He was incredibly nice and let us get our picture with him. I’m so glad my husband talked me into it.

  • I LOVE that movie!!! It’s one of my favorites. I’ve met a couple celebrities in the past but it was because of where I was employed. I wasn;t allowed to act like a fan which sucked.

  • You’re in Clearwater, so you’ll appreciate this – sometime around 2001, I saw Kirstie Alley in a Subway restaurant. No joke. It looked like she had been out jogging with some friends, and my mom and I sat in our booth whispering quietly about her. That night she was at a concert at Coachman Park we went to. Clearwater has some scientology celebrities every now and again!

  • haha, celebrity sightings can happen pretty easily in atlanta, but my problem is I would never recognize any of them! and also, I heart Trader Joes as well, I go to the one further north of the one you went to, in buckhead. There’s a 24 hour diner in buckhead that Andre 3000 hangs out at all the time!

    p.s. you were in Atlanta and didn’t tell me?!!! dislike (fake facebook button)

  • I once literally walked into Joey Fatone in LA and had no clue who he was until my friend told me. I’m celebrity oblivious most of the time and if I do see one it’s usually ‘that guy who’s in that show about that thing…you know!’ lol

  • LOVE HIM! I’m jealous that you saw him. And although it’s awesome if you approach a celeb and get a friendly response, it’s usually a crap-shoot as some celebs hate it, so just pretend you didn’t talk to him b/c you wanted to play it cool 😉

    I have seen a nice handful of celebs in NY. I once saw Hal Sparks — we made eye contact, and I gave him a smile and he smiled back and maintained eye contact. He’s kind of a D-list celeb, but whatevs, I still felt pretty slick 🙂 The last time I was in NY, the son from Little Miss Sunshine was sitting behind us at dinner. Oh and I walked by Molly Ringwald on the sidewalk years ago and totally gasped when I realized who it was. So uncool of me! But I couldn’t help it.

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