A few years ago, when I was in a grocery store in New York City, I spotted an actor who had played a role in Stargate: Atlantis. A few minutes later, he walked past me, so I ventured, "You were in Atlantis, weren't you?" He nodded and continued on his way. I relayed this story to a friend of mine, who laughed at me. He said, "That was Richard Kind, and he's famous for Mad About You and Spin City. And you, Carol, recognized him from Atlantis?!"
It was the equivalent of recognizing Sigourney Weaver for her role in Annie Hall. I still cringe at my ignorance.
But it turns out that isn't even close to the most unusual fan encounter that stars have with their fans, some of which are hilariously awful or take place at the worst possible times. As they tell the stories in their own words, give thanks that you're not one of the people in these stories.
Unless you are one of these people in the stories. In which case, we strongly suggest you keep a minimum safe distance.
Fans of The Walking Dead aren't just fans of the show: They're also familiar with the lore of zombies, the undead, mindless creatures who like to feast on braaaaaaains. See how one fan puts her knowledge to work when she recognizes actor Steven Yeun (Glenn).
Steven Yeun (again)
Could Yeun have a more uncomfortable encounter than the one above? Considering that this one takes place during a colonoscopy, yes, he can.
Kit Harington plays Jon Snow on Game of Thrones. Honest.
You may know Emilia Clarke as Danaerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, Queen of the Andals and of the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons--even without Dany's silver hair. So did one fan, who spotted the actress in a crowded department store.
Clarke's story, below, starts at 1:44 and ends at 2:07.
Note to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: You missed your chance to fondle Spike, back when actor James Marsters was young and naive and didn't know how to set healthy boundaries.
Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill
The (former) cast of Doctor Who all discuss their encounter with the same female fan ... one who takes Doctor Who--and hedghogs--very seriously.
If there were a real Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Terry O'Quinn, the former Locke of Lost, would call Oahu "mostly harmless."
Unlike the other stories here, Benedict Cumberbatch ("John Harrison," Star Trek Into Darkness) isn't the recipient of awkward fan love. No, here he is the awkward fan. Star Harrison Ford takes it well.
If there's a "creepy fan encounter" award, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy, the Harry Potter series) would win it, because it's not every day that a fan sends a young star adoption papers.
We've saved the best for last. In this clip from the documentary Trekkies, the late James Doohan, who died in 2005, discusses his multiple encounters with a suicidal female fan of his character Scotty. A lovely, not-to-be missed story that will bring a tear to your eye.
Heard about, or had, a great fan encounter? Let us know in the comments!