Tuesday, July 01, 2008

So yesterday I took a later lunch at my job, because I was scheduled to cover a press conference that the Washington Wizards were giving. They were introducing their newest draft pick, Mr. JaVale McGee, to the media and possibly speak on any other future moves they may be making.

So as I headed to the arena, I was kicking around all kinds of story ideas, questions, and approaches I should take once I arrived, and I noticed a familiar looking man standing outside of a building in downtown DC. He was an older gentlemen who looked to be about 6'4 or so, and he was tearing up some baked chicken. I initially walked right by him, and then it hit me who it was. I walked back up to him, and the conversation went like this:

Me: I'm sorry to interrupt you, but you look very familiar
Him: I do huh? I don't owe you money do I?
Me: No..well yeah you do
*we both laugh*
Him: You aren't trying to pick me up are you?
Me: Nah, nothing like that brother
*only he laughs*
Me: No, I've seen you somewhere before
Him: Oh really? Where have you seen me?
Me: I'm ashamed to say this, but I saw you on Oprah a couple years back..aren't you Chris Gardner?
Him: I sure am brother, what's going on? Do you watch Oprah regularly?
Me: Only when someone special is on, or when my girlfriend makes me
*we both laugh again*

Now the whole time we are talking, he doesn't bother to slow down on his chicken eating, and frankly I don't blame him because it looked damn good. But I kept trying to leave him, and he kept telling me that I wasn't bothering him, and I could keep right on talking. He asked me what I did for a living and I told him I was govt contractor by day, and a writer by night. When I told him I was on my way to cover a press conference, he then began to ask me about McGee, the Wizards, and Agent Zero. He then shared with me that he was in town on business, but he loved DC, and would try to come back often. I mentioned the site I worked for, gave the man a forearm bump (he had chicken grease on his hands), and we went our separate ways.

For those of you who don't know who Chris Gardner is, he is the guy who the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness is based on, and its quite a moving and motivating story..to me at least. I took my son to see the movie on Christmas Day 2006, and as a result, my son and I had a great convo afterwards. I didn't get a chance to share all I had to say with Mr. Gardner, so I went to Plan B.

I channeled my inner stalker, and found his website, then found a contact email address, and I emailed him. I mentioned the chicken he was tearing up, and I mentioned the conversation we were having, and how glad it was to meet him. Through my thorough research, I found out that he spoke at THE Hampton University(my alma mater), and his daughter went to that school, so I threw that in there too. Considering this man is worth upwards of $70 million, maybe he'll throw some change my way. But seriously, I would love to interview this man or something like that. You don't meet people like on the street for no reason you know?


Anonymous said...

Thats awesome. can't wait to hear if he writes back.

Miss Black River said...

I'm a huge Chris fan. Saw the movie, read the book. He's on my list of people I want to meet.

sixfive said...

It's good you actually stopped to talk to him, rather than recognize him and just keep on walking, wishing you had stopped.

lex said...

Wowsers you had a pretty amazing day. Who knew Mr. Gardner was that tall?

Its great that you spoke to him. Progress! Hopefully *fingers crossed* he will write you back.

lol @ you mentioning the chicken. :)