Back in the 80’s I dated a guy named John who traveled a lot for work. On several occasions I would drive him to Newark Airport and hang around and wait with him until his flight boarded. In those days (pre 911) you could do that, you didn’t need a ticket to get close to the boarding areas. We were at the bar having a Bloody Mary and my friend said he needed some chewing gum for the flight. We took our drinks with us, something else you could do back then, and wandered over to the gift shop. As my friend looked for the gum I glanced at the large display of magazines on the rack. As my eyes moved from left to right I caught sight of a tall male who looked very familiar. It hit me fast and hard, it was Alan Alda (Hawkeye from M.A.S.H.). He looked quite handsome in street clothes and he was extremely attractive.
I was face to face with him (well face to chest as he is 6 foot 2 and I’m only 5 foot 5) and not one intelligent word came of out my mouth. In my head I was saying, “Hello Mr. Alda, it is so nice to meet you. May I have your autograph please?” However what came out sounded more like, “dah dah dah, wow, wow, oh my gosh, dah, dah, dah”. Poor Mr. Alda, he seemed more than a little embarrassed. I guess my “dah dah dah’s” were louder than I thought because a crowd was forming. My friend John came to the rescue and asked Mr. Alda if he would be so kind as to give me his autograph. To which Alda replied, “I don’t give autographs, but if you can get her to be quiet until I’m gone I will shake her hand.” They talked about me like I wasn’t even there, what nerve! Still unable to speak I shook my head up and down to indicate I agreed to his terms. Mr. Alda did shake my hand (a very firm handshake by the way) and then he literally ran out of the gift shop to the departure gate and disappeared from view. My friend’s flight was called at that moment so we said our goodbyes. He told me he would talk to me the next evening. Leaving the terminal I felt like everyone was watching and waiting for my next outburst. I didn’t care, Alan Alda shook my hand! I guess it should not have been a big surprise to see him at Newark Airport since I knew he had a home in New Jersey.
My friend John did call the next evening and he told me what happened on the flight. It seems that my friend and Mr. Alda were on the same plane. They made eye contact and nodded to each other during the flight. When they disembarked in California Alan Alda purposefully walked over to my friend, shook his hand and with a straight face said, “Good luck with her!”
I never ran into Alan Alda again, which was his good luck I suppose. I did, however, have an encounter with Trace Adkins which I’ll tell you about next time.
Source: Personal Experience