While I am happy to engage in conversation with my seatmate, I make it a point to never initiate conversation beyond a greeting when boarding. But a friendly celebrity on my American Airlines flight saw fit to strike up a conversation with me and we turned out to enjoy a great talk on travel, miles and points, and life.
Flying With Jack McBrayer In American Airlines First Class
As boarding was winding down for my Los Angeles to Chicago flight, actor Jack McBrayer took a seat next to me. You will likely remember he played Kenneth Parcell in 30 Rock and has appeared in film, television, and theatre over his very productive career.
He said good morning to me, I said good morning back, but then I went back to working. I was editing pictures of my recent trip through Brazil, Panama, and El Salvador. I was also taking several pictures out the window. That must have piqued his curiosity, because he asked what I was doing (maybe he thought I was trying to sneak a picture of him, which he later told me people often used to do while he was going back and forth from New York during 30 Rock).
I explained about Live and Let’s Fly and Award Expert and we went on to have great conversation about international travel and then about family life, education, living in LA (we are both Angelenos, though he is a transplanted one and was shocked that I actually born in LA), and work. We went into a holding pattern over Chicago and ended up chatting even longer due to our delayed arrival.
Seriously, this was a great conversation and I have so much respect for this man. One reason is just because he was intelligent, witty, and great to speak to. But McBrayer is also an A-list celebrity, very financially wealthy, and it has not gone to his head. He’s a very down-to-earth guy.
I asked him with he was working on next and he told me about a new show he is making with Apple called Hello Jack! The Kindness Show. He invoked the memory of Fred Rogers and said the mission was to create family-friendly, edifying, clean programming for kids. The trailer looks good:
Before landing, I asked for a picture with him so that I can show it to my five-year-old son Augustine when I introduce him to this program. We don’t have a TV, but he can watch it on my laptop. In case you are wondering, the American Airlines flight attendant made us take off our masks briefly for the picture, especially because I was wearing a United Airlines mask…
What a pleasant surprise. Jack McBrayer is a kind man. It was a lot of fun to fly next to him and it was the best conversation I’ve had with a seatmate in many years.