Skip To Content

    "Super Aloof But A Terrible Tipper," And 40 Other Stories From People Who Ran Into Celebs At Work

    Yes, Tom Hanks really is the nicest celebrity ever.

    If you work somewhere like a restaurant or a theme park, then it's quite possible that you'll run into someone you don't want to see, like your high school ex or your annoying neighbor.

    Alexis from Schitt's Creek saying, "What are you doing here?"

    However, it's also possible that you'll cross paths with someone you really do want to meet, such as your favorite celebrity.

    Woman saying "I'm fangirling right now!"

    Recently, I rounded up stories from the restaurant workers of the BuzzFeed Community who served celebs. In the comments of that post, people with all kinds of jobs shared similar stories.

    Larry David saying "My interest is piqued"

    Here are 41 stories from people who ran into celebs at work:

    Disclaimer: These stories have not been verified. The users are supposedly speaking from their own experiences as alleged employees.

    Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    1. "I work retail in LA. Tom Hanks is the nicest guy ever; he's also incredibly intelligent and usually comes to our bookstore to find some obscure recommendation he got from a friend across the world. He very much gives off 'loves to learn' vibes."


    Tom Hanks smiling

    2. "Ben Affleck is such a prick that our staff calls him 'assfleck.' He often comes in to do PDA with his girlfriend of the month and makes sure everyone sees him."


    Headshot of Ben

    3. "I'm a charter pilot. The biggest jerk, without question — Ben Affleck. To be fair, it was several years ago, and perhaps he’s changed. But he was rude and condescending, and he littered, too (expecting our staff to just pick up after him)."


    Ben in a velvety suit on the red carpet

    4. "Jennifer Hudson would come into a restaurant I worked in regularly, and she was always SO kind, stopped her conversation to say thank you when you brought something, made eye contact, and tipped so well. She's just honestly one of the nicest people ever."


    JHud onstage and smiling

    5. "I was a lowly PA on Breaking Bad, and Bryan Cranston was still very nice to me. He shook my hand and properly introduced himself the first time we met. Once, he sat at the table I was eating lunch at, and it was a mix of various levels of cast and crew by the time everyone sat down (I was there first and sitting by myself when he joined me)."

    Bryan on the red carpet

    "The day the episode where he shaves his head was filmed, he was running around trying to convince anyone he could to let him shave their head. I got to lunch that day wondering why a bunch of people were suddenly bald."

    Headshot of Bryan

    6. "James Corden is a bit of an attention seeker but very nice. His kids come in once a week or so to buy books, and they're so polite and intelligent."


    James with his hands folded in front of him

    7. "I've taken care of a good number of celebrities and professional athletes. The only one I remember really acting as if they automatically deserved special treatment was LeBron James. He stayed four hours after our restaurant closed, had somebody from his entourage whip out a speaker and play music once our music was turned off, and ordered a round of drinks three times after we had done a 'last call.'"

    Headshot of LeBron smiling

    "My manager is a huge Lakers fan, so they stayed and took care of them, but I remember thinking he was a huge douche for expecting it. I had heard he was a horrible tipper (as in $0 on a $2,000 tab), but the entitlement was wild."


    LeBron on the Space Jam red carpet

    8. "Michael Bolton was cool. He always came in with a different woman but sat on the patio for dinner. He stayed forever but tipped well and was able to laugh at himself. Overall, a really cool dude."


    Michael on the red carpet

    9. "I used to work at Petco at the bottom of the Hollywood Hills. We would get celebrities all the time. The celebrity who left the strongest impression on me was Brenda Song. She LIT UP the store when she walked in, just smiling and full of bright energy."

    Headshot of Brenda

    "She asked for help making a dog tag, and she was so nice and appreciative of my help. I was in a better mood the rest of the day because of how sweet and bubbly she was."


    A smiling Brenda in a short dress and low-cut jacket

    10. "Kieran Culkin tried to order takeout under a fake name, but our caller ID was outstanding. Still, he was a generous tipper, and he was also kind, friendly, and polite on the phone."


    Kieran in a bow tie and sneakers on the red carpet

    11. "Melissa Joan Hart is sweet, kind, and overall amazing. Her kids were a bit wild, so that bugged me, but she rarely came in with them. Her husband, Mark Wilkerson, is the most beautiful human I have seen in real life."


    Melissa and her husband, Mark Wilkerson, embracing on the red carpet

    12. "My grandfather officiated a wedding where John Goodman was in attendance (the groom had been part of his bodyguard/security team at one time). He walked up to my grandpa, shook his hand, and told him how beautiful the ceremony was. My grandpa had no idea who he was, and this was around peak Roseanne popularity."


    John Goodman on the red carpet

    13. "I was a server at the Concours d'Elegance events at Pebble Beach for a few years for extra cash, and Jay Leno is there every year. I was two years in and I hadn't met him yet, but I heard nothing but good things about him. During my last shift in my third year, I was having a really bad day because people were being super rude, and they kept blocking the only walkway we were allowed to use to clear the tables. I walked into someone who wasn't paying attention to where they were going, and I gave him a really dirty look — just in time to realize it was Jay Leno."

    Jay in denim in front of a car

    "He apologized profusely, when I was the one who bumped into him, and I felt like an asshole the rest of the day."


    Headshot of Jay

    14. "Jennifer Lawrence was a sweetheart. She came in during off-hours lunchtime with a friend and was just chill."


    A pregnant JLaw smiling

    15. "Judd and Maude Apatow are such a nice family. Since Maude and I grew up in the same LA private school social circle, we joked about some common experiences we had. They're both super down-to-earth and mellow."


    Judd and Maude standing in front of a sectional sofa

    16. "I waited on Sheryl Underwood and her friends, and it was amazing. I’m from a small city, and she was in town for a comedy show. Her entire group treated me so well, and she left a 300% tip."

    Manda Lane

    Sheryl smiling on the red carpet

    17. "Ryan Gosling came into a pizza place I worked in once upon a time and tipped $100 on his $20 meal. I wasn’t his server, sigh."


    Ryan in a suit on the red carpet

    18. "I’ve waited on both Gene Hackman and Alan Arkin. They were both regulars at a restaurant I worked at, and both are polite and kind and tip well. Arkin knew the staff by name."

    Headshots of Gene and Alan

    "I don’t know if Hackman knew our names or not; he seemed a little shy. I felt bad for him when Guy Fieri ambushed him on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives."


    Guy sitting next to Gene in a restaurant

    19. "Jesse Tyler Ferguson came to sign a cookbook he wrote and brought the staff a dozen donuts. I looked on his Instagram later that day, and he did it for every single bookstore he visited in LA! Super-nice guy."


    Jesse smiling on the red carpet

    20. "I served Chad Kroeger when I worked at a cinema. He came in at a quiet time and was just a nice, chilled-out bloke. He asked for recommendations on places to get food nearby. He happily signed a couple of autographs for staff."


    Chad smiling and wearing a Beatles "Let It Be" T-shirt

    21. "Charter pilot here. Guy Fieri was one of the nicest passengers. He was polite, friendly, respectful."


    Guy in sunglasses, jeans, and leather jacket

    22. "Vincent D’Onofrio came into a bakery I worked at once and was my fave celebrity I waited on. He talked with our baker for a bit, and he was super nice to everyone."


    Vincent looking serious on the red carpet

    23. "I met Judd Nelson from The Breakfast Club. I didn’t recognize him right away because he was wearing a motorcycle helmet and had a long beard. He ordered food to go and ordered a beer at the bar while he was waiting for his order. He made small talk with me while I was putting his order together, and that’s when I recognized him. He historically plays 'mean guys,' so once I recognized him, I got a little intimidated."

    Judd with a beard and mustache

    "However, he was so incredibly sweet and tipped everyone very well and was extremely friendly and warm. John Bender is actually a really nice dude, guys!"


    Judd in a scene from The Breakfast Club

    24. "Conan O'Brien came through the store very briefly but was friendly and down-to-earth."


    Headshot of Conan

    25. "I met Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash on the set of Murder in Coweta County. He was extremely nice, but she was like meeting your own grandma. She called everyone 'sugar' or 'honey.' Best people you could ever meet."


    June and Johnny

    26. "Back in the '70s, I worked at a steakhouse in Miami Beach that got a number of celebrities. One night, Tom Jones came with his entourage. We closed off a dining area for them. The bill wasn’t terribly extravagant — about $450. He left a $16 tip, which is less than 4%."

    Tom singing at the microphone

    "The waiter, albeit unprofessionally, asked him if he made an error. Tom demanded to see the maître d', swore up a storm, and had the guy fired."


    Tom singing into a microphone

    27. "Judith Light used to come by the cheese shop where I worked, and she was absolutely lovely."


    Judith in a shiny turtleneck dress on the red carpet

    28. "Scarlett Johansson came in dressed way down, but everyone recognized her and left her alone. She was kind and a good tipper."


    Headshot of smiling Scarlett in a sleeveless outfit

    29. "I met Burt Reynolds while working on the set of Sharky's Machine. He was the nicest, most down-to-earth person ever. He ate with the crew and laughed in person the way he laughs in the movies."


    Burt at a microphone waving

    30. "Macklemore was a semi-regular at a coffee/juice bar I worked at from 2015 to 2019. He was always super aloof (which is fine) but a terrible tipper. He once tipped me 41 cents on a $14 order."


    Macklemore in a suit and animal-print sweater on the red carpet

    31. "I should say Joan Rivers was one of the sweetest people I've ever served."


    Joan in a fur-collared outfit on the red carpet

    32. "A good friend of mine served Anna Kendrick and her friend. Apparently, she was horrific and barely acknowledged her at all, but she would laugh with her companion every time my friend walked away from their table."


    Anna in a sleeveless dress and looking over her shoulder on the red carpet

    33. "I waited on Justin Long and Kate Bosworth mid-pandemic. They were both so patient about the capacity restrictions and so kind to all of the waitstaff who took care of them over the course of a week. They remembered people, thanked the kitchen, took photos, and signed autographs. They're really just salt-of-the-earth people."


    Justin and Kate wearing caps and embracing on the street

    34. "True Detective Season 3 was filmed in my town, and we all waited on Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff a few times. Ali was super sweet, but Dorff was an ass who tipped like shit and hit on girls all over town. Plus, he ordered his burgers extra well done with ketchup and American cheese only. Such a tool."


    Mahershala and Stephen hugging on the red carpet

    35. "I worked at a resort that Neil Gaiman would come to with his family, and he was the most down-to-earth person I’ve ever met. He was just enjoying his vacation with his family. I am a absolute fan of his book Stardust, and my biggest regret is never asking him to sign my copy. I just couldn’t because I wanted to let him enjoy his vacation."


    Neil in a tuxe

    36. "I met Sting after my coworker manhandled him in a hotel lobby at a work event a few years ago (Sting happened to be staying where we had an event). He was downstairs reading a book the next day, and I sheepishly offered an apology for the behavior."

    Sting performing

    "He was super kind and not at all like the reputation he gets normally when it comes to fans. I kept it to just 'Sorry my coworker was inappropriate,' but he did try to ask what my company event was and shook my hand."


    Sting sitting and playing guitar

    37. "The nicest celebrity I’ve waited on is John C. Reilly. He and his wife, Alison Dickey, were warm and kind, and they talked with everyone. She had just had their second baby, and I was pregnant and about to pop with my first child. We talked about pregnancy and all things baby. Wonderful people!"


    John in a wide-brimmed hat and Alison on the red carpet

    38. "My hubby used to work for a big rehearsal studio/instrument rental company where we live in Nashville. He said Garth Brooks used to throw big cookouts at his home and would rent gear from them regularly. He would actually park his truck behind the big delivery truck and wouldn’t move it until the guys got a plate of food."

    Garth in a cowboy hat

    "Also, after performances, he would make it a point to go around and shake everyone’s hand and thank them personally, no matter how tired he was."


    Garth in a cowboy hat and a suit on the red carpet

    39. "I served Spike Lee once when he came in before speaking at the University of Oregon. He was super nice and easy to chat with."


    Spike at the DGA Awards red carpet

    40. "Apparently, my life is caught in orbit around Steve Guttenberg from Police Academy. Every restaurant I have ever worked in, from small-town New York to New York City, and one I helped to open in Florida, he has come in. I've met him more than any other celebrity, from when I was a teenager to an adult."

    Steve sitting at a microphone

    "He doesn't remember me, and I don't hold that against him, but he has always been kind and respectful."


    Steve smiling in a suit

    41. And finally: "A few years ago, I had bartended at a restaurant where I served Sabrina Bryan from Disney Channel and Dancing With the Stars. She was polite and kind, and she tipped very well."

    Smiling Sabrina in a shorts suit and leaning on a mantel

    "We also had a heart-to-heart when I told her I was planning to move to Las Vegas. She had previously lived there and gave me tips about where to live, go out, and even where to look for the best jobs. I’ve lived in Vegas the past seven years and now bartend on the Las Vegas Strip — all thanks to her advice."


    Headshot of Sabrina

    Now it's your turn! I want to hear about the best and worst experiences you've had with celebs at meet and greets. Share your stories in the comments!