So I took my mother to Broken Yolk in La Costa yesterday. She’d never eaten there before. It’s a great place for breakfast and lunch. If you’ve never been there I highly recommend it.
Well as we are walking up to the restaurant my Mother blurts out, “Hey isn’t that? It is! Look David! It’s him!”
Obviously I had no idea what she was talking about. So I spun about and looked into the window next to me. Sure enough, sitting there on the other side of the glass was none other than Richard Dreyfuss. There was no mistaking it. Right there, in front of me, was one of the men who I grew up watching on the silver screen. A legend in my life. I mean really, this is the guy from Jaws, Close Encounters and Mr. Holland’s Opus!
For me, that was cool enough. We went in and we were seated. About two booths down from Mr. Dreyfuss.
Naturally I started doing some googling of the man on my iPhone. Turns out he lives in Olivenhain. Crazy.
Well, I gave my phone to Mom so that she could quietly take a photo of him sitting in his booth since she was seated facing him. I’ve worked with enough celebrities to know that no matter what we think of their profession and the “price of fame,” the reality is they are just normal people who are trying to live their lives. I didn’t want to pester the man, even though part of me would have done anything to get an autograph if I could!
So there I was content knowing that I was even close enough to the man to hear his voice as he spoke. And to know that we were eating in the same restaurant. Everything was good. Cool story. Right?
Not for Mom. She wanted a close up photo. So she charged over to his table. Not in a mean or malicious way, no. She went over there as a grey haired old lady armed with an iPhone she could barely use and very sweetly asked him if it would be ok if she took a photo of him. He reluctantly agreed to it and she very shyly snapped a photo and thanked him and came back to the booth.
She handed me the phone and asked me how the picture came out.
As you can see, Mom was a little excited. That, coupled with her inability to hold still while taking a photo really worked against her this time. Mom was, to say the least, not happy with that.
She immediately began insisting that I go over there and take another photo of the man.
I really didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be that guy. You know, the guy who just totally ruins a celebrity’s day by not letting them just eat their breakfast in peace? That guy. Mom wanted me to be that guy.
I politely told her I didn’t think it was a good idea. That he should be left alone. He was gracious enough to let her take one photo, but his fame didn’t give us a free pass to pester the man. Well, Mom didn’t really want to hear that and she started giving me the evil eye. We hadn’t even been given our food yet, and I knew very quickly that this was going to be a long meal if I didn’t do as she wanted.
Right about this time Mr. Dreyfuss’ companion got up and walked away from the table. He was now alone in his booth reading the paper. Reluctantly I got up and made my way to the table.
“Mr. Dreyfuss, I’m very sorry to interrupt you sir. I know you are having breakfast, or whatever…”
At this point he puts his paper down and looks over at me. He’s obviously annoyed, but holding it back. He’s been doing this for 30+ years and it shows.
“Sir, my Mom already asked you for a photo. Thank you for that. But she was so excited it came out all blurry and well, she… next week is her birthday, and she’s insisted that I come over and ask you if she can take it again. Maybe one together with you sir?”
I knew from the look on his face as soon as he turned and looked at me that this wasn’t going to end with a new photo. But I was all-in. I had to ask, just to be able to tell my Mom that I’d tried.
“I’m sorry, I just can’t,” said Mr. Dreyfuss.
“I understand sir. Thank you,” I said.
“Thank you for asking politely like you did,” he said.
With that I got up and walked back to my table. Mom was shocked. And as I walked past Mr. Dreyfuss’ returning companion I heard her say, rather unhappily, “Ok, it’s really time to go now.”
The two of them were up and out of the restaurant very shortly after. I felt like a total heel.
Except for when I looked at my Mom. She was so happy to know that I was willing to go forward and ask the question for her. Sure, she didn’t get the picture. But she got something better, perhaps? She knows her son is willing to go out on a limb for her. To do something he’d really rather not, just for her. That her needs are important to me.
That was worth it, in the end.
I’m sorry Mr. Dreyfuss, as much as I respect your work and your personal space, my Mother’s happiness had to come first for me. I hope you understand.