Saturday, June 21, 2008

Get Smart

For those of you with any doubt, being nice to others can be a wonderful and rewarding act. Here's a small example.

This year my family spent spring break in Santa Monica, California, to celebrate our daughter's twelfth birthday. To make the trip extra special we allowed our daughter, Zoe, to bring along her "friend for life," Georgina. Now these girls are at an interesting age because at times they act like, well, little girls, and at other times they display the fashion sense of a young Giselle Bundchen. Consequently, their hotel bed was lined with Webkins' dolls of all shapes and sizes, while lipstick, mascara and a hair curling iron were neatly stored on the bathroom counter.

It was my daughter's greatest wish to meet a movie star on this trip. In order to optimize her chances, my wife, Susan, and I arranged a very ambitious schedule including studio tours and great seats at a live broadcast of American Idol.

March 17 was Zoe's birthday. So that evening we dined at Ivy on the Shore, in Santa Monica. Zoe and Georgina had spent considerable time preparing themselves for their dinner appearance. Quite frankly, they were both cute as a button. Let me rephrase that, they were both fashionably glamorous.

Our table was adjacent to the front window and provided us a view of the Pacific Ocean. While the girls were busy dueling on their Gameboys, and Susan perused the menu, I intensely scanned the restaurant for stars. I was not hopeful given we were dining at a relatively early hour on a weeknight.

Before long, the heavens opened up and the crowd cleared. Bingo! The Rock came into view and fortuitously he was headed our way. I quietly alerted the girls. Zoe responded "Dwayne Johnson?" I nodded in confirmation. Suddenly two heads swiveled and their four little eyes popped as Dwayne edged by our table.

As fate would have it, he paused at our table long enough for me to take immediate action. "These two girls are your biggest fans!" I blurted out to the six foot four inch man standing next to me. Dwayne looked down and I instinctively pointed to the two beauties seated across from me. "And it's her birthday," I said.

Without missing a beat Dwayne's eyes lit up and he said, "how are you girls, and happy birthday!"

Zoe and Georgina were stunned and their faces were frozen in amazement. The encounter lasted only a few seconds, but my daughter's greatest wish was fulfilled. I was a very happy dad.

Our dinner was delightful. The girls feasted elegantly on goat cheese salads and lamb chops. Of course, they continued their Gameboy duels in between courses. A delightful chocolate birthday cake with a single candle capped off our dinner.

As we prepared to leave, Zoe asked if she and Georgina could go over and thank Dwayne. We consented and headed out while the girls paid their final respects.

The girls were smiling and laughing as they caught up with us a moment later. "What happened, what did you say?" I asked.

"Thank you Mr. Rock for wishing me a happy birthday," Zoe said. "He shook my hand and wished me a happy birthday again!" she effused. Zoe then waved her right hand in the air and said, "I am never going to wash this hand again!"

Two little girls, two young ladies, two friends for life, together shared an experience that they will never ever forget because a man, a movie star, was nice.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is starring in the movie "Get Smart" which was released this week. We all think he's pretty darn special.

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