Sometime in the summer of '98 I was on an afternoon flight from Salt Lake City back to Butte, a regional 50 seat jet two seats on each side of the isle. I was near the front, maybe the very front, window. Next to me was a mid teen girl. She had a friend, a seat back on the other side. From the time we boarded she was half turned in her seat talking to her friend, in a fairly loud voice. She was in the window seat, so she was talking not only back but over the seats on the other side. Next to her was a middle age guy, maybe my age.
Thinking I didn't want to listen to this 'OMG' chatter for over an hour, I turned, suggested to the guy sitting next to her friend that he exchange places with the girl next to me. He quickly agreed, settled in and we introduced: "Hi, I'm Mike. Hi, Bill". We settled back, the plane took off, and after a few minutes we started talking, usual stuff: "Live in Butte? Travel often? What do you do?" etc.
He asked some questions about what I did, the project I was on (Pfizer, inhaled insulin), I asked what he did. "Actor". "Stage, what?" I asked. "Some stage, yeah. Mostly film." he said. "Oh, anything I might have seen?" asks I. He hesitated. "Um, Independence Day?" he said. I brighten, "Oh, I saw that with my daughter. Who did you play in that?" He hesitated again. "The President." he said. A pause on my side "Really?" I think I said. He nodded. We talked a bit about why he was going to Butte.
As it turns out, his brother is a endocrine doc in Butte, John, that I'd been working with for a few years. They have a ranch near Butte, his brother and he hire a manager, but visit it often.
He was recently in town, and stopped by a local school play. A very nice guy, quite unprepossessing.
I called my daughters that night to ask if they'd heard of him, and related the story. Two long sighs...."jesus, dad...."