A few years ago, I lived in Rockford, Illinois. While I was living there, I used to work part-time at the Rockford YMCA as a fitness instructor/weight room attendant.
One day, I was working out in the gym and I saw this absolutely BEAUTIFUL, drop-dead gorgeous girl exercising near me. She was working out with one of the trainers, and I couldn't help but notice how 'intense' she was.
Her workout was so focused, and so hardcore that it was putting me to shame!
There were lots of pretty girls who went to the YMCA, but for some reason she stood out! This girl had this magnetism about her...
Well...just a couple of weeks later I was finishing up a shift, just 'shooting the breeze' with my boss Lynne, when she told me that a new girl would be coming in to relieve me that day.
Then, she showed up...
She walked behind the front desk, stuck out her hand towards me, and said, "Hi. I'm Danica."
"Hi, I'm Paul. Nice to meet you."
Yes, that's right. I got to meet Danica Patrick LONG before she became who she is now...way before any racy 'Go Daddy' commercials...
She only worked a couple of shifts per week (which clearly was for the free gym membership that comes along with it!), and one of those was a late-afternoon shift in which I would come in to relieve her and work the evening shift.
I would always get there a few minutes early, but she would still stay exactly up until the time she was supposed to leave. That always gave us a few minutes to chat.
She was very friendly, and personable...
One day she mentioned something about racing. I thought, 'Oh that's cool...she has a hobby..."
She would tell me about how she won a bunch of go-kart races. 'Oh, well isn't that cute...'
Little did I know!
That hobby has since caused her to become one of the most famous female athletes of all!
In case you don't know who Danica is, it's time for you to come out from under that rock...
She is currently a racer in the IRL (Indy Racing League) where she is the first woman to ever win an IRL race! She's also the only woman to ever lead a lap at the Indianapolis 500, the granddaddy of all races.
She is no flash in the pan, as she consistently finishes in the Top 10 week after week!
And yes...Danica is also well-known for her numerous magazine covers & endorsement deals, the most famous being the sexy 'GoDaddy.com' ads that you see during the SuperBowl.
AND...Danica is on the verge of playing with the Big Dawgs, as she is rumored to be jumping to the NASCAR racing league within the next couple of years, to compete with the most talented racers out there!
So yes...I used to work with Danica.
A few months back, I saw her Facebook page and decided to 'Friend Request' her. Clearly she would remember me, right?
Well, I logged on a couple of weeks ago to check on that...
The friend request is still pending...
Hmmm...She must just be really busy, I'm sure.
Also, about a month ago I started following her on Twitter. I responded to a couple of her tweets with very nice, witty remarks.
No response. Guess she didn't read them.
I'm sure she gets SO many responses that there would be no way for her to answer back to them all...
Oh well...I guess I should've expected it. When you get famous you make new friends...and like we all do, people just move on with their lives.
Well, last night I left one more message. Very direct...
"Hi Danica. This is Paul who used to work with you at the Y is Rockford. Congrats on your success!"
And then it came...
I woke up this morning to a new message on Twitter. It said, "Hi Paul. Thanks."
(Either she's really bored on Tuesdays, or she has someone responding for her...)
Sure, it wasn't much...but much more than I expected.
Now, if I ever run into her again one day, let's see if she recognizes me...
GO Danica! Congrats on the success! I'll be cheering you on!