When I found out that Sherman Hemsley has died last week, it made me pause and reminisce about him. His acting career has spanned most of my life. Even with 3 successive shows and cameos, his acting career was paramount and his celebrity status has kept him relevant in the entertainment industry. His short stature has given people, like comedian Kevin Hart or Martin Lawrence, a positive role model to be inspire by and not let their height be a crutch to their success.
In 1998, I was in the Army and living in Fort Lewis, Washington. My mother and brother came up to visit me from California. We went to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. I always liked going to Vancouver and I have enjoyed my experience there. We arrived at our hotel to find out that the boy band, N-Sync, was, also, in town at the hotel across the street with a long line of teenage girl were waiting for them outside.
My brother was tired from the drive so, he stayed in the hotel to relax. My mother and I toured the city and explored several location. We ended up at Virgin records to do some CD shopping. I was searching in the Rap/Hip hop section, when I looked over and noticed a familiar person in the Jazz section.
I wasn’t sure but I followed close as they heading to the cash registers. I grab my mom, paid for my CD, and headed outside. He was only a few feet away from us. I called out to him, “Excuse me, Mister!” He, then, turned around and it was none other than Sherman Hemsley. My mom stood there shock and speechless. I, on the other hand, was too excited that I started to charade my answer with dance and one-liner because I forgot his name. He smiled and asked me to calm down. I was astonished that he was able to walk the streets of Vancouver without being rushed by the public.
He took a picture with my mom and gave his autograph. Then, he shook our hands and departed down the street. My mom and I still talk about that moment. To Sherman, thank you for the Jeffersons and Amen episodes. Plus, being in Vancouver for my mother first Canadian visit. May you rest in peace.