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My Brush with Greatness

Years ago I was a waiter at a new and very popular restaurant called the Casa Grill.

One of my favorite and off-beat things to do as a waiter: On Valentine's Day, I would buy a kids'
set of Valentines at Walgreens' and sign each of them, handing them out to customers as a charming
sort of joke. I'd say something like: "Hey, did you get a Valentine today? No? Here you go!"

People loved it; they still do. I never missed an opportunity to slip one or more to a table of
attractive women, but I had to make damn sure I had enough in my pocket for ALL of them
before I pulled them out. It always brought a smile to people's faces. Even in a restaurant when
they probably should be going out for the holiday, it's surprising how many people either don't
get Valentines on Valentines' Day, or just think it's a kid's game for school.

On Valentine's Day in '92 at Casa Grill, I saw Brett Hull sitting in the bar with a couple of his
male buddies. All the wait staff were abuzz; some thought about approaching him for an autograph,
while others were worried he'd get mad, and tell the boss, and they'd get in trouble. And the current
urban gossip said that Brett had just broken up with his girlfriend that week. He certainly looked a
little despondent; his buddies were joking around, but he just slouched in his barstool staring off into space.

So everybody was too nervous to approach him except me. But I wasn't interested in an autograph.

I went into the bar and pulled out one of my Valentines. I said, "I heard you could use this.
Happy Valentine's Day, Brett," and handed him the little folded over Valentine--probably a Barbie
or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or a Tinkerbell (my favorite--she's blonde, beautiful, short and HOT).

He didn't look up, but a smile crept across his face as he opened it. His toady jock-ish buddies
snickered like a couple of jackals--it was hard to tell if they were laughing at me, or at Brett for taking it.

But he just said, "Thanks." I walked off before I could get into any more trouble...

Whenever I encounter a celebrity, I prefer to try to think of some way to DISTINGUISH myself
from the hustling crowd. It's more fun and more memorable--for both of us.


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