It might not be a chance encounter with a celebrity who steps onto your same elevator but it was just as surprising.

Jade Kickey is a language arts teacher in Holmdel at William R. Satz Middle School. She’s been teaching The Outsiders, the classic 1960’s novel by S.E. Hinton about two gangs and culture clash. The book is often required reading at that 7th and 8th grade level. Fun fact: back in the day many were shocked to learn S.E. Hinton was actually a female and that she wrote the book at 16 years old. It was published in 1967 when she was still a teenager. Susan Eloise Hinton is actually given credit for creating the Young Adult genre in writing. The book became the movie The Outsiders in 1983.

Well one of the actors from that film surprised Ms. Kickey’s students by showing up virtually. Rob Lowe was suddenly there on camera to talk directly with her kids and answer whatever questions they had about the book, the movie and his life. How cool!

Rob Lowe played Sodapop, the sober, heart-broken older brother to Pony Boy Curtis. The students got to interview through the Komi app. One of the kids asked what he thought would have become of him had he not been in the Francis Ford Coppola film.

"I was really lucky to know what I wanted to do when I was young. I knew I wanted to be an actor when I was 8. I really pursued it," he said. "But there was a moment in time right before The Outsiders where it kind of looked like it wasn't going to happen for me. I was either going to be a lawyer, go to law school like my son Matthew's done, like my father did or maybe I was going to be a marine biologist because I love science and I love the ocean. And just when I thought my dream wasn't going to come true… there's a great saying that I believe in, 'Don't leave before the miracle.' And I did not leave before the miracle and the miracle came and the miracle was The Outsiders."

Everyone but me seems to have a surprise celebrity encounter. I wonder if there will be more of this now that the pandemic ushered in the age of virtual meetings. There could be more opportunities for celebs to agree to this sort of thing. Recently a music professor at Princeton surprised his songwriting class with an appearance by Sir Paul McCartney himself.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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