Yesterday. I really seriously did.
My friend spotted him first, and I saw the back of a man carrying a curly haired cherub on his shoulders. I figured my friend was off and just saw his doppelgänger, but she and our other friend were determined to find the truth.
We went into the Sahara section of the zoo (Ooh – is that significant? The Sahara section. I’m Sahara, and met JVDB. Coincidence?) because there he was.
We played cool and went to the window, looked at the zebras. Kept track of him out of the corner of our eyes. One friend decided to talk to him, and I approached as I heard him confirm he was JVDB. He was walking around just as normal as you please, not being rushed by people.
She asked about taking his picture and I didn’t exactly hear how he said no, but I heard him mention having too many kids that he needed to pay attention to. I asked his wife ( who was wearing their sleeping baby with mouth open in that cute way babies do) the baby’s age and congratulated her. We talked about how awesome the zoo was. They had been there when the kids were younger, but now they could appreciate it and he thought it was awesome.
He was actually quite gracious. When I’ve envisioned meeting an actor, I’ve imagined approaching them and confirming they are who they are: (Meryl Streep, Hugh Jackman, whoevs) and them sort of rolling their eyes and sighing like, oh God, again. Maybe some of them do, but JVDB didn’t, and I found that fantastic. I was quite put at ease by his manner.
He declined to take a picture since they had so many kids to keep after, and he didn’t want to draw attention to himself. Good guy. I like him more now.
Postscript: I didn’t think to include this part until I responded to a comment below, but after we parted, we were still in the same “area” together looking at exhibits, and our kids were playing together. Wee One played with JVDB’s kids! I swear, my child is the COOLEST!