My moment with Philip Seymour Hoffman

When moving to NYC I put little thought into the “celebrities” I would encounter. Celebrity sightings have never really been my thing and not because I’m from California and we all live next door to them and ride surf boards to work. It’s just, every famous person I’ve ever encountered is always smaller than imagined and usually, pretty normal.

Working at a posh hotel in downtown San Diego, I encountered a few. Tommy Lee is just as big of a mess in person as you’d think and the members of LMFAO are just as obnoxious as their songs. I can say that LL Cool J is really a cool guy, such a smoothie, and all around, nice person. Ladies do love Cool James.

All that aside, I didn’t put much thought into the celebs that would be hanging in the West Village and stopping in for food at my new place of employment, Corsino. This Italian wine bar and cantina usually attracts gay men, dining ladies, and entitled foreigners who take their own seat on the patio and don’t tip.

A couple of Sundays ago, Corsino got a little celebrity love when the legend Philip Seymour Hoffman walked through the door and waited like every other normal human for a table on the patio. He was with his family: a normal looking, attractive, wife who has the look of a good mom and three ginger kids, one of which is a clone of Philip himself.

This is a celebrity encounter that is really worth appreciating. If someone is that amazing of an actor, he gains my instant respect. The moment I knew of Philip’s presence I let out more than a few fist pumps and whispered my excitement, “BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR EVER!”

I was definitely the most excited about our celebrity guest and although I did not serve him, I sure as hell was around to assist in whatever his table needed. Getting his clone ginger son some crayons, bussing his table, doing all the non-verbal check ins a good server does to watch over a guest’s dining experience without disturbing. I was around and then… he spoke.

“Can I get a double shot of espresso with a glass of ice on the side, a panna cotta for my wife and two scoops of vanilla gelato for the kids?”

Not exactly the cool first words one would want to hear upon meeting Philip but hey, I was his waitress.

After delivering the desert and giving them a minute I went back to check in on the kid’s progress with their gelato. I asked the kids if they were enjoying the gelato as they scarfed it down and of course, ignored me.

“That’s alright, ignore me, I know you’re busy, I understand.” I jokingly remarked as I refilled Philip’s water and he actually laughed. Not a fake little “Ha” you usually give cheesy servers when they make awkward jokes at your table, but an actual laugh that carried on for a few seconds.

I was on top of the world. Ecstatic.I made Philip Seymour Hoffman laugh. The legend himself. Maybe it was a stupid joke over some vanilla gelato but it was a stupid joke that Philip thought was funny.

Maybe next time Philip dines at Corsino we’ll get into a heated discussion about what the hell is wrong with politics in this country while I serve him the Cavatelli but for now I’ll settle gelato talk.

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