It was a normal Friday morning.
I was leaving Philadelphia for trip to Los Angeles to cover the BET Awards. A little cranky that I would have to have a layaway in between, I was happy nonetheless to get an early flight. My mother found something on Hotwire that worked for my budget and that meant making a short detour in Detroit before making it to the West Coast.
I was seat 14B that morning when I would go from one normal passenger to sitting in coach to sitting in the luckiest seat on the flight.
Delta Airlines had not always been my favorite venue and when I saw how many passengers were on the plane, I was not in the best mood. Furthermore, when I found out that the flight would be roughly four hours and I would not be near a window... I was even more annoyed.
Then entered a soldier in uniform who sat next to me. I quickly greeted him with a good morning and as I began to start conversation with him, a stewardess approached him. She seemed very friendly, and I assumed she was going to give him a free pillow or something. He quickly grinned as she whispered in his ear and got his luggage and headed to the front.
I quickly reflected on how nice it was for the airlines to give him a free first class seat. Then I began to plot what I was going to do with this extra seat. Without a second thought, my carry-on was off the floor and had a seat of its own. Even though it was an Aldo messenger bag, I still valued it enough not to just have it lying out in the open for people to step on it.
But it was only a few minutes until that bag would be on the floor again, because that 14A seat on the flight to Los Angeles, California had an even greater purpose.
In came Amy Adams. At first, I was thinking that she was making a celebrity "I am here paparazzi and fans, get excited before I head back to first class" appearance. And then I can tell she was actually looking for a seat. I thought to myself this must be a joke. I know they said that serious Hollywood actress payouts were declining, but I thought to myself this actually would be funny if she was paying for coach to stay on budget.
And then she was looking for seat 14A and then I internally lost my mind. There is no she was sitting next to me. Then I had one of those devious thought that this must be an Ashton Kutcher Punk'd type of televised prank. But I physically played along, but mentally was freaking out.
Truth be told, I am an avid movie fan. I watch the Oscars obsessively (yes, even on YouTube) and all the films that get nominated. I have even done film critiques in the past, so to have Amy Adams sit next to me is almost like a 13-year-old girl sitting next to N*Sync in their prime.
So in my most ridiculous and nerdy introduction I said, "Hey, I'm a huge fan, you sooo deserve an Oscar... I can't wait till it happen."
*Film fact: Ms. Adams has been nominated for an Academy Award 5 times over the last 9 years without a single win.*
Anyway, she was very modest and humble about that assertion and replied back "it's just great to be able to go there as often as I've had and be able to have had so many great roles." And then we took the selfie that the media would share all over the world.
And for the next four hours we talked, laughed, joked, and I will never forget a single second of it.
What I learned through those discussions about family, life, film, race, and dreaming is that we were more alike than different. Celebrity for her is not so much of a recreation but a vessel that helps her to continue to do what she loves.
But furthermore, what many don't know about her reason for giving up her seat for that soldier who sat next to me is that she didn't even want the attention that came with it.
To be quite frank, anyone sitting in first class that morning could have given their seat up to that soldier. I never sat in first class before, but what a cool idea is it that something like that happen more often. For it's the soldiers that get far less deserved screen time and attention that Ms. Adams get for doing something that is self-less and courageous.
And in two-fold, Amy Adams not only gave up her seat but she actually sat in coach as opposed to finding another first class seat to sit in. Sitting next to her she told me that she always wanted to do it and this time she had the opportunity. According to her she wanted to put her "money where [her] mouth" was.
When I got off the plane, I gave Ms. Adams a hug as we headed to the terminal. Cameras flashed and there was stream of commotion outside. Someone had apparently tweeted that Ms. Adams was on the flight and reporters were out ready to get the first response.
Inside Edition found me and quickly asked me about my experience. And shortly after, CNN, ABC News, E! News, and the rest followed. Within hours, I became a mini-celebrity. Famous for being around the famous. Sounds familiar? (Cough, cough, Ms. Kardashian)
But a week later, and now fully recovered from what was the most epic plane ride ever, I can now say that I will remember one thing that Amy Adams taught me: no one is too big or too busy to step out and so something genuinely kind for another.
Although that weekend at the BET Awards led to selfies as crazy as this, or as cool as this... nothing would ever compare to the one I took on that flight with her. Because for the first time in my life, I experienced a celebrity do something grand for someone more deserving than them that got all of the newsworthy attention granted.
To the rest of Hollywood, please take notes. Ms. Adams may not have an Oscar yet, but she surely winning the heart of America!
Follow Ernest Owens on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MrErnestOwens