“I’m Sorry. I Have to Go.”

patrick

Photo by Matthew Lowell Thompson

Nothing makes me happier than being at the racetrack. The roar of the engines, the smell of race fuel. But sometimes, the icing on that cake is Patrick Dempsey.

You see, when Patrick Dempsey is not being all Dr. McDreamy, he’s also a racecar driver.

A few years ago, Patrick raced at the inaugural Rolex Series race at New Jersey Motorsports Park. As is customary with all Rolex Series races, there was an autograph session with all the drivers on Saturday afternoon. The drivers sat at a long line of tables, giving each fan the opportunity to meet each driver. And Patrick was sitting toward the end of that long line of tables. As a race fan, I always love the opportunity to meet the drivers. The fact that Patrick was one of those drivers was an added bonus.

The local ABC affiliate had advertised Patrick’s appearance at the race. And it quickly became apparent that many of the women in line were there just to meet Patrick. I hated to break it to them, but the short skirts and high heels weren’t going to lure Patrick away from his wife and kids.

We worked out way through line, sharing pleasantries with the other drivers and collecting their autographs. But out of the corner of my eye, I kept watch on Patrick’s location. Checking my watch, I realized the session was winding down and the drivers had to leave for qualifying. We were only a couple fans away when Patrick stood up. I started to panic.

He walked past the two people in front of us in line. Possibly sensing my panic, he turned to me, looked me straight in the eye,  and, in a line straight out of Grey’s Anatomy, said, “I’m sorry. I have to go.”

I just stood there with my mouth hanging wide open, unable to form a word, let alone a sentence. If I had been there by myself, he would have walked away, and that would have been that. But Matt was there to put the two of us together and take a photo. How often does your husband push you toward Dr. McDreamy?

A click of the shutter, a signature on my poster, and he was gone. Just like that.

Patrick keeps racing, and I keep going to races. So I’ve had opportunities to meet him again, and he continues to be great with the fans. And thankfully, I’ve been able to speak on those occasions. It may not have been the most brilliant conversation, but at least words came out of my mouth. I consider that an improvement.

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16 thoughts on ““I’m Sorry. I Have to Go.”

  1. Dad, It's OK! says:

    While I can’t relate to Dr. McDreamy, I’ve had my own experience much like your own. I was waiting outside after a concert to meet the members of one of my favorite bands. They came out and started signing stuff, and while I got 4 of the members signature, I couldn’t work my way towards the lead singer. I tried, but it just didn’t happen. As he turned away, waving and looking towards their bus, I saw something in my direction catch his eye, so I held out my ticket stub and marker and gave him the “Please” face. He took a couple large strides towards me and grabbed the ticket to sign it, with that he said, “Man, I love your jacket! So dope!” He smiled, and then left. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to him a couple times since then, and to this day, he still remembers my jacket and how much he wanted it, haha.

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