My encounter with actor Kiefer Sutherland at the airport
I approach the actor with stealth, as befits the star of the TV series, ‘24.’
Photo illustration by Scott Wallace/Staff; Photo by Colin Drummond/Newscom
(The following takes place between 13:05 and 13:29. The events occur in real time.)
I spy Kiefer across the room. He looks like a bush pilot. He is wearing a sage green scarf flung around his neck, contrasting smartly with his tan suede jacket. The scarf makes him stand out. If it is Kiefer, wouldn’t he want to be incognito? Wouldn’t he wear dark sunglasses and a fedora? All his fan blogs say it’s rare to see him in real life. Must not be him.
I line up dutifully at Immigration with the other Canadians. The mystery man stands in the American line a short distance away. This time the guys behind me confirm his identity. His name ricochets from one end of the line to the other. People pull out cellphones like they’re drawing pistols. “Guess who’s at the airport with me?” echoes everywhere.
I marvel at how polite Canadians are. They allow Kiefer to wander the airport freely. No one mauls him for an autograph. I appreciate this because it gives me time to think of my plan of attack. I circle the Customs area, knowing that he will be headed there next. I step out of line so many times while waiting that I make the security guards nervous.
What am I thinking? The famed Jack Bauer character, who has saved the world innumerable times, is not going to have to stand in line with the rest of us. Immigration probably has a secret celebrity door to get him to his flight. More likely, Chloe, his computer wunderkind sidekick in the antiterrorism unit, is hacking into federal computers now, getting him his own plane. Maybe that’s why he is wearing his pilot outfit. Just as I convince myself that my star-gazing moments are over, Kiefer strolls into view again. He is walking and talking with a short, handsome man wearing a black leather jacket. Now I understand. He had been waiting all along for his friend, probably the next costar of the series. I would now be ahead of all my friends, knowing the next big TV celebrity. If I hurry, I can be right behind Kiefer in line.