Let me start off by saying that I MET A LEGEND!!!!! Dan Aykroyd !!!!!
I had the great privilege of meeting an actor, comedian, producer, screenwriter, musician, founder, entrepreneur, entertainer, and all around amazing man named Dan Aykroyd. Growing up in the 80’s Dan quickly became my instant favorite. He gave me the Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters 1 & 2, Caddy Shack 2, Spies Like Us, Great Outdoors, Loose Cannons, Masters of Menace, SNL, Coneheads (early 90’s), Tommy Boy (mid 90’s) and so many more movies from then to present day. Aykroyd has a tremendous track record which gives him a legendary status making him one of the all-time greatest. So, enough of his back story and why he is the greatest, let’s get onto me actually meeting him.
As everyone knows or should know I am the hugest Ghostbusters fan. So it was only fitting I meet the man, the legend as a Ghostbuster. I put all my gear in the trunk of my car, gathered a few collectibles for him sign, then headed out to Orlando where Mr. Aykroyd was doing a Crystal Head signing tour. On the drive over all I could think about was, what do I say? How should I approach him? Will he take pictures with me? I also wondered if he would like my Ghostbusters uniform and gear? As you can guess the ride over was pretty stressful for me. I was very nervous with all those things running through my head. My wife who was in the car (fiancé at the time) helped keep me calm , assuring me everything would be fine and that I would have a great experience.
We arrived at the event and OMG! The line to get in was wrapped around the building, down the parking lot, and across the street to another parking lot! There were cops guiding guests across the street as space became available to wait by the building. I met up with my best friend Lee who arrived before me. He told me that we all got there a little too late then gave me some pretty bad news. He said “Mr. Aykroyd came out earlier and grabbed every Ghostbuster out of the line and took them inside first for pictures, autographs, the whole nine yards”. He continued to say “After everyone was taken care of they all went outside for a massive Ghostbusters photoshoot with him”.
Now here we are my best friend Lee, my wife, and I standing in line, looking at each other all disappointed because we missed out on a once in a lifetime opportunity to get group Ghostbusters picture with the man himself. As if that wasn’t terrible enough three hours into our wait a man in a black suit started walking down the endless line of people. He told us that we might not make it in to see Mr. Aykroyd because it was getting late and soon no else was going to be allowed inside the building. At this point I almost broke down. I know… it sounds pathetic, a grown man was gonna cry over something like that but Dan is my idol and the bringer of my childhood. This is the man who made me fall in love with Ghostbusters, so yeah I almost lost it.
I now had a big decision to make; do we stay and wait or leave since we will probably not make it in? I chose to wait a bit longer since we were finally close enough to the building windows to look in. I saw Dan in there signing autographs and taking pictures. It made me happy and provided a glimmer of hope that we’d actually get to meet him. Then the guy in the black suit returned. He told everyone the line was being shut down, only those in front of the red rope would get in and everyone else had to leave. I waited almost 5 hours, wearing full Ghostbusters gear, practically dying from the Florida heat to meet the man himself just to be turned away!
Utterly crushed, I stepped out of line when another man in a suit came up to me and asked if I was part of the group photo from earlier. I told him “No, I was stuck in Disney traffic and didn’t get here until 12:00 p.m. so I missed the opportunity to meet him and take the group shot. Now I’m not even going to meet him at all since the line is closed. I have been waiting close to 5 hours to meet Mr. Aykroyd”. The man told me to hang on a second and went inside the building.
My friend Lee and I were waiting to see what the man was going to do. At this point my wife was completely exhausted and just wanted to leave. The guy in the black suit finally came out with 3 other men. They opened the red rope, told us to come in and lead us through the building. They said wait here and stood us in front of everybody. The next thing I know a curtain opened. We were told Mr. Aykroyd asked for us and to go see him. We walked through a set of doors and turned into the area where he was still taking pictures. He looked over at us, smiled then told everyone else to ” please hold on”.
We were put next in line to meet him! I began to freak out all over again until I heard Mr. Aykroyd’s voice say “Come on over here and sit down son”. I shook his hand while having the biggest smile on my face ever. He signed my little collectibles I brought and took a few pictures with me. As I was getting up to leave he said to me “Turn around I wanna see that unlicensed nuclear accelerator on your back ” (aka the proton pack). He told me it was one of the better ones he had seen, took out a silver sharpie and autographed my Proton Pack. It meant so much to me when he signed my pack that I got teary eyed and he said “There’s no need for that son, I’m just as happy to have met you. Here take this since you’ve waited through the heat and didn’t give up”. He handed me an autographed bottle of Crystal Skull Vodka. I replied to him “Thank you sir so much for everything”. He gave me a hug and told me to keep doing a great job as a Ghostbuster. Now when I’m out cosplaying at events and conventions I smile, because my Proton pack is now officially licensed with the seal of approval by Dan Aykroyd.