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Driving with the stars, the 1987 version

May 20 2012

Plenty of people have driven over the Blue Bridge in its time, but it's unlikely the now-doomed structure has carried a crew quite like the one I transported over it one fine day in 1987.

My friend Bob McKeachie was at the time a honcho in marketing with Labatt's, then a major sponsor of David Foster's celebrity fundraising events. This particular one took place at the Archie Browning Sports Centre in Esquimalt, and McKeachie had asked me to pick him up there on the afternoon of that night's big gala. We were going to hang out for a bit before he had to get back to the arena.

When I got to the arena, McKeachie asked if I could transport some "Foster people" downtown - they were stranded because of a limo mix-up. So into the crammed rear seats of my little Chevy Chevette piled four people, while McKeachie jumped in the front seat with a strange smile.

It wasn't until I looked in the rear-view mirror that I noticed Rob Lowe, John Travolta, Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors and Chicago lead singer Peter Cetera.

On the way downtown, the others were reassuring Lowe that he sounded great during the rehearsal for the song he was scheduled to perform that night.

Lowe was hugely popular at that time and a large group of star-struck female fans was anxiously waiting when we arrived at the Harbour Towers.

"There's Rob Lowe!" one screamed as the throng came at my car like a hysterical pubescent wave.

But then one shouted: "No, wait. He wouldn't be in a car like that."

So they returned to their vigil at the front of the hotel awaiting a limo, while my non-descript Chevette slipped unimpeded into the basement parking lot.

"Thanks, man," the celebs said, in their first and only words to me as they squeezed out of my car.

And that was my brush with Foster celebrity-ness, until years later, when I was asked to write a script about Vancouver Island sports, music and arts greats for Johnny Carson sidekick Ed McMahon, who was hosting a Foster event.

At this point in my career, I'll probably never have to prepare a resumé. Too bad, I'd love to be able to write: "Wrote for Ed McMahon."

That's almost as good as saying I drove the Six Million Dollar Man in a $6,000 car.


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