Wichita is the aviation capitol of the world. That means that we have a fairly steady stream of VIP's coming to town to pick up airplanes or continue their pilot education. So it's not unusual, but still exciting to have famous visitors. Imagine my surprise when during a recent celebration at our company's favorite restaurant, Chester's Chophouse, we saw a famous diner. Angie, our Retail Operations Manager, saw Harrison Ford come in for dinner. With permission, we had been sharing chocolates with all of the bar patrons as part of our celebration. So it seemed natural to me that we should also share our chocolates with Mr. Ford.
After several moments of 'was that really him' or not, we asked permission from our friends, Bobby and Susie Lane, to send a plate of chocolates to Mr. Ford's table. Over the next excruciating 20 minutes, I watched the plate of chocolates sit behind the bar. They were still sitting there long after it seemed possible that he would still be in the restaurant. Just as I had given up hope of making our big Hollywood break, I looked over my shoulder and right into the face of Harrison Ford. I think I squeaked out a 'hello.'
As you know, I'm a bit starstruck by chefs and movie stars, so this was exciting. In fact, the entire bar was speechless as Mr. Ford joined the bar scene for a nightcap. Okay, I'm starstruck, but not very shy. I got the plate of chocolates and went down to introduce myself. I first apologized for the intrusion, but then I was off to the races! I told him about our celebration and offered he and his companion the chocolates. He was very gracious, in fact thanking by name! Okay, I had it embroidered on my jacket, but he was way cool about it.
So two of the most amazing things happened in the next 30 minutes. First, we received drinks compliments of our famous guest. We thought that was the nicest gesture, but there was more. Before we had even had time to thank our new friend, there was a tap on my shoulder. Leaning on the backs of our bar stools was ..... Harrison Ford! He wanted to thank us for the chocolates, but stayed for a visit. He was so lovely, introducing himself and shaking hands with Angie and her sister Amber (who never stopped smiling for the rest of the night!).
The purpose for his visit was to compliment me on the chocolates. He said, "I'm not much of a sweets guy, but that lemon chocolate was incredible!" Again, I think I probably squeaked out a 'thanks.' The conversation that ensued revealed that Mr. Ford did have a sweet favorite, salted caramels. Angie informed him that "we make the best grey salt caramel in the world!" To which I suggested that we send him some. Now this was a reality check for us because it took us much longer than it should of to realize that someone with a high degree of visibility won't give out any contact information. Maybe if we hadn't had the drinks he sent over, we would have gotten it a little more quickly. But again, our very patient and lovely new friend, was firm but nice.
But he did give us a way to put our world-famous caramels in his hands. He was to be in town for the whole week and would be having dinner again at Chester's later in the week. And he invited us to send over chocolates for dessert. Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What happens next? Tune in next time for the end of the story. Until then...Happy Memorial Day!