Friday, May 28, 2010

I met Gary Coleman once

Well, sort of. More like we were in the same location for half an hour.

I was leadinga day-long youth group bike trip, riding from Long Beach down to Seal Beach and back. At the midway point we stopped at a shopping center that had a video arcade (remember those places?). Some of the kids went inside while I waited outside to flag down a few lollygaggers who had fallen behind.

Into the parking lot pulled a Hummer. One of the originals. This is around 1994, so this is back before Hummers became suburbanized. The Hummer parks in the middle of the lot. Not in a parking spot, but right in the middle of the driveway. Right behind two cars, blocking them in.The door pops open. And out jumps Gary Coleman. (Stop there for a minute, and just picture Gary Coleman jumping out of a full-size Hummer.) He walked into the arcade, which, it turned out, he owned.

He went into the office, then came out and sat at a table, in the middle of the room, to look over some paperwork. A few people approached him, but he blew them off. He seemed to be enjoying 'being seen' by the lowly people, but he couldn't be bothered to actually interact with them.

Of course, we had Todd in our group, and he wasn't one to give up easily. This is the same Todd who showed up Weird Al and Bob Saget. So Todd walked up to Gary and asked, with enthusiasm, "Hey, do you know who you are?" He was relentless, prodding and pleading with Gary to say it. His one line. "What you talkin' bout, Willis?" But no, Gary wouldn't budge. He just pretended to concentrate all the harder on his paperwork, looking annoyed.

I should mention that, about this time, the owners of those cars in the lot were trying to leave, but couldn't, because of the large Hummer planted directly behind them. But who's to rush Gary Coleman? Who's to speak ill of Gary Coleman and his ginormous 'car'?

After 20 minutes or so, either Gary was finished or he was tired of Todd, because he said goodbye to a couple employees and left. Stop for just a minute, and picture Gary Coleman hopping up into a Hummer. Yup. Took a couple more minutes to get situated, and then drove away.

And life went on as normal, and we all had a good story to share at the next youth group meeting.

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