Recently, I had a conversation with a girl in her early twenties who looked like she just woke up at 8pm, the two of us standing in the doorway of her ginormous Hollywood Hills home — about how delivery driving “isn’t like, the worst job you could have”. I agreed, like a proper second class citizen. And neither of us could come up with any examples of heinous-er occupations. I said “Yeah. It’s… pretty… um. It can be fun…”
She closed the door of the home her billionaire father built for her. Well, first he bought the $8M lot, demolished the house on the property, and constructed her a nice new $12M one. Like ya do. It’s literally Monopoly come to life around there.
And I’m the iron, just trying to get a house on Mediterranean.
But then there are the rare, magical moments about my job.
The other nite, I got called to pick up an order in Malibu, at a laid-back-upscale restaurant called Giorgio Baldi.
I parked in valet, and walked inside. — Well, first I tried the front door which appeared to be a side door, so I went around the side — where I couldn’t find any doors, so I came back around to the front door, waited a sec, then followed a patron through it — because HE knew how to use doors like a real person!
Inside, the atmosphere was cozy and exclusive. Glasses-clink-y and low-lit, it smelled of Eau de Expensiiv and lobster pasta, worth more than my car. One particular woman caught my eye, as I waited for the order. I watched her chat with friends at a small table nearby. She talked with her hands. I thought “That’s so sad, that lady has to try so hard to look young, with that wild and crazy hair and all that makeup —- oh, holy shit it’s Steven Tyler.”
And since we’re being honest, he looks great for being Steven Tyler.
It’s easy to run into a celebrity at a restaurant. It’s LA for crying out loud. If you’re not running into “that guy from that thing!”, you’re doing it wrong. But that wasn’t the cool part.
The cool part was that the order was going to Bob Newhart.
IF by some holy horrible sadness, you know who Steven Tyler is, but not Bob Newhart, take a minute to do the Google. I love this interview. He has been on TV since the 70s, doing his own variety show, and seasons’ worth of other shows — mostly involving his name.
I’ve delivered food to him a handful of times. And he’s my favorite of the clients. He’s exactly like my Pop-Pop. So kind and friendly, you end up feeling like he genuinely enjoys your company. Also, he’s really f-ing funny.
I’m asking to take my picture with him, I promise myself. TOTALLY inappropriate, of course. We drivers are supposed to be like “OH, no big deal, (INSERT CELEBRITY), that I see you in your pajamas at your mansion! My life is so fabulous, this is normal and maybe a bit boring for me!” I decide — maybe not, on the photo op. I don’t want to overstep my bounds.
I pulled through the gate to the Newhart’s. People, they live across the street from the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” house. ‘Tis REAL, friends.
I walked in to find Bob Newhart standing at the kitchen island, putting out a Whole Foods roasted chicken on the counter.
“OH no! You already made dinner!” I said, joking, and holding up the bag with the Dover Sole and the linguini.
He assured me, “Oh no. This is for her!” He was graciously fixing the housekeeper’s dinner. The delivery was for him and his wife. “How was the traffic?” he asked.
“Oh, the usual…” I said. Rush hour traffic always sucks. He started signing the credit card slip. “You know, I haven’t seen you since you won your Emmy! Congratulations! Is it here?” I began speaking without thinking.
“Yes!” He said, smiling. “…You wanna see it?”
“—YEAH!” I said. Way too loud and enthusiastically. And on top of what he was saying.
He led me down the hallway from the kitchen to the living room. “You know, it’s heavier than you might think,” he said.
“Obviously you have giant arm muscles,” I said. He’s 84. And there are photos of him holding up that Emmy, one handed, like it’s made of helium.
I tried to take in his whole house and remember it all, but I couldn’t. Everything was too interesting and all I could think about was “I AM WALKING DOWN THE HALL OF BOB NEWHART’S HOUSE WITH BOB NEWHART!” Act normal!!
We arrived at a sprawling coffee table where I saw the golden statue glistening among other keepsakes. He picked it up. The very representation of 50+ years of work, 7 Emmy Nominations — an incredible life-long career topper. “Wanna hold it?”
OMG WANNA HOLD IT?!?! “YES!!!!!!!” – I mean, I guess… whatever… no big deal…. (Squeeeeeeeel!)
It is heavier than you would think. I gazed lovingly at it in my hands. “Oh my God… this is so cool.”
It was as if he had the same wonder about it, as I did. He finally won this award at age 84. It’s never too late! Hard work pays off! Talent is recognized! — I dunno, but in this case, it’s true!
I was inspired.
“Your name isn’t on here!” I said, pointing out the space where the nameplate should go.
“Yes! It’s on its way in the mail, they say.” He smiled. “But I know who it’s for.”
I handed it back, vowing never to wash my hands again. He placed it back on the coffee table next to what I then recognized as his Mark Twain Award. A quick glance to a wall, and I saw his Grammy’s. He is a legendary talent. Of the humblest kind.
“Do you want an Emmy?” He asked.
Like anyone can get one of these things. “I — yeah! — I mean — yes. I think so!” I felt a little teetery saying that I hope to be recognized, as he is, for my work — while my stubby little resume scrolled through my head.
We walked back to the kitchen and I said goodbye – without asking for a photograph — I’m a professional delivery driver. I figure if it’s meant to be, it will happen.
Like, maybe the next time I visit him. — When I get up the balls to ask if we can play a duet on his piano!
(I will totally take a picture of that…)
Photo (before I wrote on it) by Scott Kirkland/Invision for Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/AP Image