I Met Arnold Schwarzenegger

I felt stupid for stating the obvious. What was I supposed to say--"I like your boots and belt buckle"?

During the filming of _Terminator 2: Judgment Day_ on location in Fremont, California, I held a part-time job as a holiday display trimmer at Macy's. I was unpacking crystalware and building a gift-display rack. Boxes were everywhere on the floor, as it was early in the morning and we were still not expecting too many customers.

Earlier that morning, mall security had informed us that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be coming through to do some holiday shopping, and that he might come through our department. Store management had instructed us not to ask for autographs or take pictures with him. (Of course, someone from cosmetics on the ground floor rushed up to the third floor with a Polaroid camera and broke the rule.)

Halfway through building my display, I was kneeling on one knee and working close to the floor, sorting through goods. That's when I saw a pair of custom ostrich-leather cowboy boots walk next to me. I thought, "Nice boots!" As I looked up to see who was filling them, I caught sight of a huge silver belt buckle with jade stones--it looked handmade and expensive. Simple jeans and a smart sportscoat completed the attire.

Then it dawned on me, as the glare from the halogen display lamps blinded me momentarily. I stood up straight to let the gentleman pass by. _"Arnold Schwarzenegger?!"_ I half-asked and half-stated.

I felt stupid for stating the obvious. What was I supposed to say--"I like your boots and belt buckle"?

Thankfully, he didn't roll his eyes. He just said, "Ya!"

Not expecting him to make his way to where I was working, I had made a mess of my area. I said, "Would you like me to move these boxes aside?"

And, no lying, he stared me straight in the eyes and replied, "Don't bawtha." He looked left, then right at the display I had partially built, and did an about-face.

How cool was that? Actually, not very. He pointed at something in a display that a co-worker had built the day before, and someone in his entourage picked it up and brought it to the counter for purchase.

Later, during my lunch break, I was walking to the food court when I spotted Arnold again. People were noticing him, but they were giving him a wide berth. Yet, curious people kept pace with him and followed him down the second-floor promenade.

I had my moment with him. I didn't need to see him anymore. To this day, I swear to people that he stood in front of me and we were almost eye-to-eye, no more than an inch taller than me. There is no way he's taller than six feet. Or maybe my spine was crooked that day.

That's my brush with fame.


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