When I travel, I often see celebrities, so I wasn’t surprised to see Richard Simmons walking up to my gate at LAX recently. Actually, I should say I wasn’t surprised to hear Richard Simmons … he was singing at the top of his lungs. I know that running into Richard Simmons might not sound like the most exciting celebrity encounter, but once you’ve been around him, you quickly realize what a special person he is. He walked through the airport carrying two pillows from his bed under his arm, and wearing an orange jumpsuit which he later and proudly confessed was 20 years old and made of polyester. If I didn’t know who he was, I would have thought he’d just escaped from an institution.
I discovered that Richard has a ton of energy and greets everyone he walks by with a friendly hello and calls them beautiful. When we landed in Toronto, we walked side by side towards customs, so I told him that I really enjoyed his Air New Zealand safety video. He blushed, thanking me and asked if I was a professional athlete. That’s a first! I told him what I do for a living, so he wanted to know my favorite place to visit. I said it all depends on the time of the year. His favorite place is Venice, which he discovered while going to school in Florence. Pretty cool. We chatted some more, took a photo and parted ways. In that short time I learned that Richard Simmons is an eccentric, genuine and lovely person – the kind of person the world needs more of.
Now who wants to do some jumping jacks?