As my title suggests, I happened to bump into Jack G. yesterday evening while traveling for business in San Francisco. I was entering a restaurant at the same time that he was about to exit. I recognized him from all of the pictures I'd seen on his website and various other sources and decided to chat with him for a few minutes. (not to mention, he was wearing a black JJP polo!) Firstly, he is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet - he truly is passionate about his product and is a genuine & interesting person to speak with) I questioned him as to why is was in S.F. and he stated that he had just finished up at the E3 show in L.A., and he was now on his way up North to Seattle. (for the NW Pinball show this weekend), However, he decided to stop off in SF to visit this seafood restaurant as it was a favorite of his. (& mine - it's awesome, but I digress. I should also mention that he was there with Keith Johnson - another great guy.) From what Jack told me, he stated that there was quite a bit of interest / play on his machine that he brought to E3 to include children that have never even seen a pinball machine before. (boy, do I feel old!) He pointed to a minivan and told me that the WOZ from the E3 convention was in there. (I really wanted to see it, but I didn't want to impose too much and ask to see it.... We both remarked that hopefully it is a good sign to see children & other folks that don't know much about pinball to have a good time with his WOZ as more interest in pinball is a good thing for the life of the hobby in general. We spoke just a bit more, but I didn't want to hold him up as he was exiting at the time we met. Again - just to recap - if you have the chance to speak w/ Jack - do so. In part due to his enthusiasm, kindness & warmth - I'm certain that I will be one of the proud owners of a NIB JJP WOZ in the very near future!
One last note - after landing at O'Hare this afternoon coming back from my trip, I was on my way to the baggage collection area and as I was walking on the moving walkway, I see Gary Stern on the other moving walkway in passing! Just like in his pictures, he was in his trademark white Stern pinball button down shirt and jeans. I'm just guessing here, but I'm sure he was on his way to Seattle like Jack to show his product at the NW Pinball & Arcade Show - most likely introducing his latest X-Men machine to the general public. As we were going the opposite way, I didn't have the chance to speak with him, but maybe I will on a future trip! Either way, while I'm sure Gary is a great person from what I've read / heard in the past, I don't think he can compete with the charisma that I experienced from Jack G. in my brief meeting with him - truly a class act!
Sorry for the long post everyone - it's just new to me to run into two pinball icons within a day & a half's span!