It was 1995, and I was working at a hot LA restaurant. It's closed now, as so many "super hot" restaurants eventually do. I was the opening waiter and so I had to prep the dining room before the others arrived. I didn't mind, this meant I was first off and I preferred that. (tips were pooled anyway) This particular restaurant also had one of the first "artisinal" bakeries, a concept that has since become ubiquitous. One day, I was daydreaming and polishing wine glasses when I heard someone clear their throat behind me on the other side of the room. You know, the kind of throat clearing that really means, "Hey, butthead!" And so I turned to see a hooded female figure with sunglasses and grey sweatpants standing at the bakery counter. There was no one at the counter. My first flash of irritation. I looked to the kitchen to catch someone's eye. Nobody. Hot angry flashes. Now, it wasn't my responsibilty to man the bakery and yet I was the only visible human in the place, and so I had no choice. Happy, I was not. I let out a very big sigh and put down my glass and cloth brusquely. I walked around the counter and behind the bar to the little bakery counter and looked at the girl and said, "What can I get you." Icy would work for my tone of voice. "I'd like the cranberry oatmeal bread. And could you slice it for me too?" said Julia Roberts from behind the sunglasses.
And I set right to work getting the bread, oh my god, it's Julia Roberts, I have to tell someone, but who? I looked around and still saw none of my colleagues. I took the loaf to the back to put it through the bread cutting machine and there was nobody around. (Later, I would discover that everyone was out looking at the chef's new car which he had just purchased.) Nobody at all and I brought back Julia's bread and she paid, smiled and said thank you. My heart was all aflutter. She really is nice! Nobody is going to believe me.
As soon as she left, I ran in the back to tell everyone the news. People were reluctant to believe me. But true, true it was.
(Thanks Peter for the inspiration today.)