Stars definitely aren't just like us. Sometimes they are so out of touch with reality and other people, that they behave in the most bizarre and awful ways. When people say don't meet your heroes, there's a heartbreaking and oftentimes wild reason behind it. Content has been edited for clarity.
"Warren Sapp, an American football player, started a full-blown riot in the club I worked at in downtown Orlando a few years back. He had the VIP section reserved, which overlooked the rest of the club. The type of crowd wasn't the classiest to say the least. The club ran its best nights called 'First Wednesdays', which is based on when welfare checks went out. It enticed people to literally spend their welfare checks there. Anyway back to Mr. Sapp. Late in the night, the DJ gets on the mic. 'YO YO YO WE GOT WARREN SAPP IN THE BUILDING!'
Crowd roars, it's packed. Spotlight shines up on Warren. He walks to the center of the over hang, raising his hands. Each hand was stuffed with cash, and he just tossed it all into the crowd. The club did this with two hundred $1 bills every weekend. These weren't just dollars, these were $100s. He just threw out rent money to the people who are here to spend their welfare checks. Pandemonium ensues. People are jumping on each other in a massive pile beneath the over look. People are literally getting onto my bar, running and kicking right into this pile of people to get at the bills fluttering to the ground from two stories above. Our security staff had absolutely no chance to stop this, we had maybe 20 guys on staff for 1500 people. People were fist fighting everywhere. Guys hitting women, grabbing cash out of hands of others while they were fighting. After nearly 10 minutes of this insanity, the lights turn on, Orlando Police Department and SWAT rolls in and starts clearing the place. People were tased, people were arrested, and people were hurt.
People lay bloody and unconscious where the initial pile started. My bar had four bartenders and myself, the barback, no one tried to get to our bottles. We are told to let security handle all altercations, and our job is to watch the bar. I watched one guy hammer people with a bottle of grey goose. That guy got taken down by our security pretty quickly though. I don't know what happened to Warren after that. I did not see him at all after, and the owners of the club had us split our tips we had and sent us home. And we were closed until Saturday that week. I have no idea if he got charges for anything. But, I did make $2600 that night."
Ben Stiller. Forget that guy. If you work in the industry, you likely have a story about him. Basically I used to work in research doing movie screenings. We were testing one of his movies in front of an audience. My job is to watch the movie and make some notes. In the theater, the last three rows of chairs are roped off for the screening staff and friends/family of the crew of the movie to sit. So that's where I go. Halfway through the movie (keep in mind its dark), a short grey-haired man comes up to me and demands to know what I am doing back here. I'm dressed professionally so I just say that I'm supposed to be here. He says, 'No you're not, you need to leave right now!'
Now, the theater is like quiet and this dude is whisper yelling at me. But my job is literally to watch the movie so I tell him my name, that I'm with the screening staff, I'm not an audience member, and my job is to sit here and watch the movie so that's what I am going to do. He leaves. Now, as far as I know, that's the end. The movie continues and eventually ends, the screening staff leave and I go home.
The next day I go to work and immediately everyone is asking me what happened, if I'm okay, and if I know what is going to happen. I'm confused. I have no idea what they are talking about. Eventually I figure it out: The short grey-haired dude that yelled at me was Ben Stiller, the director of the movie.
Ben saw that I (a young black guy) was sitting in the staff section and assumed I wasn't supposed to be there. When I told him my name, he went to the screening staff and started yelling at them about me and if I am who I say I am and all this other stuff. I'll just say that I did that job for like five years and no one ever questioned me like that. Also, after clearing it up with other screening staff people, they told me that they ALL had bad experiences with him in the past. They all had a story."
"I met Richard Simmons at LAX when I was around ten years old, during the late 90s. He was walking around hamming it up with everyone, being genuinely personable and really high-energy. Super outgoing. Just working the room. I remember at one point he took a phone from someone and joined their phone call - I'm assuming this was a payphone, but I only remember that he just started talking a mile a minute to someone's grandmother. My brother and I had legitimately no idea who this guy was.
So then we are on the same flight. First, he does an extremely over the top safety briefing along with the other flight attendants (which I think they tried discouraging him from doing, but I can't remember), and then walked up and down the plane passing out food and drinks and snacks at regular intervals, commenting on their nutritional value, for the rest of the flight.
I remember my dad making a concerned comment to my mom, who also looked very concerned. I remember that was really confusing because I just saw this happy famous guy making an otherwise boring cross-country flight way more enjoyable.
20 years later, I'm listening to the podcast 'Missing Richard Simmons', and while visiting my family over the holidays, I bring this memory up. My dad tells me, 'Every single adult on that plane, who had any experience with mental health, knew this guy was having a manic episode.'
So he was awesome but it was overall sad and telling."
"Toby Keith. I think he's a loser. I was in the Marine Corps (infantry) and deployed to Iraq for the majority of the year in 2006. It was my second deployment, and I never had a USO visit or celebrity meeting, they usually don't like to get out to the nasty parts of the country. Well, we end up getting Toby Keith coming in to where our Battalion HQ is located. Anyway, the people who actually wanted to meet him and get an autograph are all waiting, and I'm assigned to help direct the entourage from the helipad when it comes in. We've got an hour once he lands, and I can hear my company trying to get it organized so that everyone can meet him, shake his hand, and get an autograph. Then one of the Navy higher-ups asks if he wants to go for a ride on the lake, and he says sure. So all of a sudden, we completely change plans. The whole team gets told to group everyone in groups of five, and they basically do an assembly line where Toby gets in the middle for one picture, then onto the next group. Doesn't meet a single person, doesn't shake a hand, doesn't sign anything.
He spends 30 minutes of his hour riding a boat with field grade officers, then he leaves. While I was upset at the leadership of the Navy for deciding to spend half of Toby Keith's trip on a boat ride with maybe 10 service members, while the rest just went back to what they were doing, I was and still am far more livid at Toby Keith. That piece of garbage made his millions with how much he supports the military, but when it can down to it, he decided to accept a boat ride invitation instead of spending any time at all with the enlisted guys in the combat zone."
"Santana and Dylan, two of my favorite musicians and at the opposite ends of the spectrum. I was around both of them in the same context but with entirely different attitudes. I worked at the old Paramount Theater in my local city in the early 90s, just a part-time thing here and there, but the awesome part was that I got backstage passes as part of the 'local crew', something like a roadie but only working at one venue.
Anyway let me start with Carlos Santana, he was awesome, his band was awesome, amazing show and incredible entertainer, first-rate all the way, true professional, overall great experience. His band encouraged us to check out their instruments and even try them, they had like a dozen percussionists and some really wild instruments. After the show Santana shook all our hands and asked us how we liked the show and later sent over a pizza and a case of drinks for the crew, awesome guy!
Dylan on the other hand was beyond terrible! I say that with a heavy heart as I did and still do love his writing, the man is truly a genius, but I digress. Anyway, I pick up a show to work but because this is a second job for me. I have to arrive late after finishing my main job. As a result, I missed the briefing before the show. The show itself was pretty terrible, he was slurring to the point of being undecipherable, which was worse than his 'normal' singing voice. His skin was white and waxy, and he could barely stand on stage, almost falling over at several points, but that wasn't the bad part. So, I mentioned I missed the briefing. Well apparently the instructions included a rule Dylan had that no one was allowed outside the stage door he was using. He insisted on no contact at all with the local crew. When he saw me he flipped out, turned to someone in his entourage and chewed them a new one in an extremely profane rant. I couldn't even move, I was so embarrassed and shocked. Not a nice man at all!"
"Back in 2007, I worked at Urban Outfitters in Miami Beach, Florida. I encountered many celebrities while working there. Jared Leto was a frequent visitor for a short period of time. I say visitor because he never bought anything, just roamed around the store inconspicuously. Word has it that he was in town filming a movie. One night, I was working the closing shift and I was assigned to work the men’s and housewares department on the second floor. It was a very slow night, being a weekday and an hour before closing time. At the last hour, I’m folding clothes and tidying up my section so I can go home early. There were no customers, then all of a sudden, this hobo-looking dude with a long beard and somewhat long hair came up to my section. I thought, 'Oh great, this loser is going to ruin everything I fixed.'
Instead, he goes straight to the book section. I was so relieved. I continued folding clothes until I felt like someone was staring at me. I looked back and noticed him staring dead at me. I was really creeped out, so I tried to pay no attention and continued to organize my section. I noticed him picking up books and reading them, so I thought he was. But he wasn’t. He was actually staring at me with those big blue eyes. I’m really oblivious when it comes to spotting a celebrity, so it took me a while to finally realize it was Jared Leto. I froze at that moment and I think he realized I knew who he was, so he left. The weirdest celebrity encounter I ever had."
"I worked for this Canadian news station and I was interviewing Ryan Reynolds. He was promoting The Proposal, if I recall correctly. It was around 8 a.m., and we were getting everything set up and whatnot. Anyways, he treated us PAs and the rest of the staff with the general attitude of a Karen complaining to the manager about something. He had a fairly decent line up of fans nearby in Toronto that waited through really cold, wet, awful weather to just catch a glimpse of him. We informed him that while we were setting up, he could go mingle with fans if he wanted to. He didn't care about them at all and was VERY dismissive. I know he's not obligated to talk to his fans obviously, but the attitude of 'Nah, forget those people' just rubbed everybody I worked with the wrong way, when he literally sat around doing nothing for a while.
Once the cameras were rolling and we were live though, boy, he turned that acting charm up to 100% capacity. Cameras off, insufferable prick again. Was he having a rough morning? Eh, maybe, maybe it was something in his personal life at the time. But in the end, he treated everyone as if they were subhuman and was dismissive of his fans (I can't emphasize how bad the weather was, and he could have come out and did a quick, 'Hey guys!'). It was just rude and terrible behavior. I worked with lots of celebs, and people always ask me who was the worst, and I answer quickly Ryan Reynolds."
"I was bartending in Chicago in the early 90s, at Smart Bar, a popular underground/alternative joint below the Cabaret Metro. One night, a rock musician comes in with the one and only Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, so I’m buying their drinks. Trent was a complete knob right out of the gate. At one point a girl ordering drinks looks over and you can see the recognition hit. She’s comes over and exclaims, 'Oh my god, Trent Reznor! Can I get an autograph?!'
Trent sneers and says, 'Show me your chest?'
She looks at him a second, then agrees, lifts her top and gives a quick flash of her bra. Not enough for Trent, who says, 'I said your chest!'
She lifts her top and holds it with her teeth while she pops the girls loose and smiles at the guys, who ogle and laugh. After she gets put back together, she asks for the autograph, to which Trent's final answer is, 'Nah, you’re too stupid for an autograph. Get lost, loser.'
And then he turns back to me grinning like he’s the most clever man in the whole world.
That loser paid for the rest of his drinks that night, and Nine Inch nails never got a penny of my money. This encounter definitely tainted my opinion of their music from then on. You make a living off fans that you step all over? Not worth the hype."
"After college, I was living the intern life in New York, so I had to hunt around for a job that would be fine with me working just evenings. The first call I got was Kmart, so for about a month, I worked at Kmart. One night, this guy with his hat pulled down low and this really cheerful girl came into the electronics department where I worked. It was a wild, wild store with tons of sketchy characters, so right away I was wary of him. Anyhow, they looked at the video game section for a minute, then the girl asked me if they could get Madden 2013. I obliged, took it from the case, and began cashing them out. It was over the $50 minimum where I had to ask for ID with a credit card purchase, so I asked the sketchy fella for his ID. He told me, in this hushed little voice that he didn’t have it with him.
Okay, sure. So I called up security to get the okay to finish up the transaction. As I’m talking to them, he tilts the credit card towards me. And then I looked at the name. Daniel Radcliffe. His girlfriend was beaming at me as the expected recognition washed over my dumb, tired face. He was super super gracious, and my height, which I loved even more (we are both a firm 5’ 5”).
And, I was pleased to be so calm and collected about the whole thing. They both got out of there without anyone else knowing who he was."
"Bill Nye. Horrible. I took a group of high school students to an engineering fair at University of Illinois in 2001. Bill was a special guest. This was a big deal for one of my students, as Nye was the inspiration for her to pursue science. My student made a t-shirt that she wanted to get signed by him if she got the chance. We drove four hours to get there, walked around and viewed the projects that were on display, and we watched some battle bot competitions. On our last walk through, here comes Bill down the hallway.
I nudged my student to go ask for an autograph. She told him that he was a huge inspiration and asked if he would sign her shirt. He said that he did not appreciate that she was interrupting his walk. She showed him the shirt. He rolled his eyes, scribbled on the shirt, and tossed it to her. She looked like she was going to cry. Instead, she walked over to a garbage can and threw it away. He said, 'Whatever,' and went back to looking at the projects."
"I had a chance to work with Whitney Houston for eight days on a film set. I was working as an extra. She was nice, kind and personable. Her beauty was more striking in person. She was very professional, and she did not miss a mark or a cue. Everybody on the set cried when she sang. Whitney Houston was very nice to me and complimentary. She spoke sweetly and in a motherly tone when she greeted people. I can still remember her friendly greetings when she arrived on set every day.
That was one of best experiences of my life and best experiences working on a film set. I learned a lot from her about professionalism on a film set. I also saw how hard she worked. She was there twelve hours a day and on point every minute. I watched how she interacted with the director, other actors, and crew. She was even encouraging towards the other extras in the film!
It was heartbreaking when she passed. I still have the dress that I wore in that film she admired and complimented me about the dress. An actor/ musician I know was booked to perform at the event Whitney Houston was supposed to be at the day she passed. He called me and told me she was gone then he started to cry."
"Years ago, I was working hotel security in Edmonton, Canada. I was escorting Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers that afternoon from their rooms ot the lobby to get to their airport limo. I am 6'5", and so I towered over her. Dolly looked me up and down and said in her cute southern drawl, 'They sure grow 'em big up here in Canada!'
She was just as sweet as you could imagine. Kenny, on the other hand, and I feel bad for saying this due to his recent passing, treated me like the help (which I, of course, was), and even made a huffy impatient noise when, slightly flustered by Dolly’s remark, I struggled to find the key to put the elevator into service. Dolly touched my arm, looked me in the eye, and said, 'Darlin’, don’t you pay him any attention, we appreciate y’all!'
I guess I got the good and the bad in one shot."
"So I have a fun Paul Rudd story. I worked at CVS at the time, and my manager had just eliminated smoke breaks, so I'm on edge and going nuts. Paul Rudd walks in, and sees me. For reference, I am generally disheveled in appearance. I had a wizard beard braided down almost to my stomach, and I had worked overnight unloading the truck before popping on register.
He looks at me and just goes, 'Rough night?'
I laughed and nodded. I slurped at my coffee, which was more or less empty at this point. My boss comes out of the office to yell at me about something, and Paul drops what he's doing, runs to my counter, and rings the little bell to interrupt the boss. I run over and he has a single Butterfinger on the counter.
I ring him out, and he laughs. He asks, 'How long you been here?'
Truthfully, I told him, it had been 10 hours. I sputter something about loving him in 'Fundamentals of Caring'. He looks at my boss and says the best thing ever.
'I need this guy to help me to my car with my purchase. My back hurts. Mind taking over for him?'
So I go outside, he bums a smoke off me and bought me coffee. Then wouldn't let me inside until I finished a whole smoke with him and half my coffee. Boss came out to whine, but Paul Rudd laughs and says, 'I still need his help loading my car.'
Honestly, its actually probably the single best customer moment I've ever had in my time in retail. That dude is beyond awesome."
"I used to work the front desk at a luxury hotel in NYC. I met a bunch of celebs. I met Priyanka Chopra. I think she may just be more aloof than rude, but man, what an entitled and careless human being. She had a little Yorkie that would run around in our lounge and leave surprises for our public area attendants to clean up. One time she was sitting in one of the small lounges directly across from the front desk with a group of her friends, when her dog pooped on one of the white fabric sofas. She and her friends were laughing hysterically and didn’t care about the poor Indonesian guy who had to pick up HER dog’s turd.
Kevin Hart. This was heartbreaking, because I genuinely liked the dude. I was never a big fan of his stand up routine, but I enjoyed seeing him in films. He’s one of those guests who thinks that a hotel will shut itself down for him and his friends. He’d come to the front desk every now and then and demand a discounted suite for some random people he just met at the bar. This happened multiple times. The first time I just thought he was wasted, and he went away after I told him we were sold out for the night, but he asked a few more times during the course of his stay. He became increasingly hostile and condescending with each asking. I haven’t been able to enjoy any of his work since.
The most memorable encounter I had was with Ben Schwartz who played Jean-Ralphio on Parks & Rec. I love that show and his character so much that when I adopted my first dog, I named him Jean-Ralphio (we just called him Ralph). Anyway, Ben wasn’t staying at the hotel. He came to the front desk and asked very politely, 'Hey sorry to bug you, but would you mind letting me up to room such-and-such?'
I looked up, saw that it was one of my favorite TV characters in the flesh, and began to internally freak out. I said, 'Absolutely, just allow me to confirm with the guest,' (he was asking to go up to Don Cheadle’s room, they were working on 'House of Lies' together at the time). Don Cheadle answers and tells me to let him up. This is a swanky 5-star hotel and we’re not 'allowed' to engage with celebs. As I walked him to the elevator, I realized that I wouldn’t get this chance again. 'Mr. Schwartz, before you head up, I just need to let you know that I’m a big fan and I actually named my dog Jean-Ralphio.'
His face lit up and he said, 'NO WAY!' with the biggest smile. He stepped out of the elevator and asked to see a picture of Ralph. We talked about my dog and Parks & Rec for a bit. Before he went up he said, 'I can’t wait to rub this in Cheadle’s face!'
Great guy, incredibly down to earth, and nothing at all like his TV character. There were a lot of other excellent celebrities too. Bryan Cranston was pretty reserved, but whenever he came to the front desk for something, he couldn’t have been nicer. He always thought he was being a nuisance when he asked for something to be brought to the room, what a sweet guy.
Audrina Patridge, yup, that girl from The Hills. Without question, the sweetest guest I have ever interacted with. There was some sort of mix up with her reservation and it wasn’t paid for in advance, so she had to put down her card. Models, influencers, and other folks who generally have their rooms paid for often throw a fit when their reservation hasn’t been paid for, but she was so cool about it. She came off as if she didn’t have a single entitled bone in her body. Ended up chatting about my life, her life, and New York City before she went on her way.
Kim Kardashian. Yeah, I’m surprised by this too, but she was a sweetheart to me. Always smiled, waved, and said hello whenever she’d walk by the front desk and just seemed incredibly polite.
I encountered Dr. Dre right around the time Straight Outta Compton came out. I bumped into him in our gym. I’m a big fan, so this was the only other time I broke protocol and engaged with a high profile guest. I said, 'I’m sorry to bother you sir, but I’m a huge fan and I just watched Straight Outta Compton, and wanted to let you know how great it was.'
I felt so stupid because why would Dre care about what I thought? But he shook my hand and seemed genuinely grateful to receive the compliment. He asked me what kind of music I was into. Told him I grew up listening to artists he brought up like Eminem and 50 Cent, and we ended up chatting about hip hop for a few minutes."
"I met John Candy on a plane when I was a little kid while traveling with my family. He was a big man. He had the whole row to himself in front of us with the armrest up between seats, so he could be more comfortable. The stewardesses were blocking anyone from coming up and bothering him, even though they themselves were not exactly leaving him alone, what with talking to him constantly and laughing at his enjoyable banter the whole trip.
At some point, he got up to go to the bathroom. When he came back he looked at me, pretended to do a double-take like he was surprised and said, 'Hey, you're the quietest kid ever, don't you talk?'
The way he said it was so friendly that I just smiled and giggled. Then he had a pleasant conversation with my parents, who had been DYING to talk to him the entire flight, but they were too polite to bother him. Not even two weeks later, we heard that he had passed.
"I met, and got to hang out with for about an hour or so, the one and only Kiefer Sutherland. It was an amazing experience running into him, as we had plans to go see him at his concert that upcoming Saturday night. The tickets were free, but we had to wait in line to get them. My son was bartending during this event, and he came up to me and said, 'Hey Dad, I've got someone I want you to meet!'
So when I met him, the first thing out of my mouth was, 'Oh my goodness, we loved you in Lost Boys and 24 so much. Believe it or not, my wife and I are coming to see your band on Saturday!'
He absolutely lost it. He was like, 'Most people don't have a clue about my music, I can't believe you guys are coming! That is so awesome!'
He was so thrilled. I called my wife to come to the bar and meet Kiefer. Long story short, he left really great seats for us at the will call. Then during the concert, he called out for me and my wife to stand up. Then he dedicated a love song to us. He is such a good dude!"