A gas station manager in Memphis, Tennessee got a big surprise last week when he says Michigan singer and actor Eminem stopped by his station to fuel up on some nachos.
Mike Gibbon, the manager at Shelby’s Service Station, says Eminem pulled up in an SUV around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. Gibbon says he knew it was Eminem right away. His wife, Christina, who was also working at the gas station at the time, thought he was joking.
“I looked back at my wife and I was like, ‘That guy looks an awful lot, too much like Eminem not to be Eminem,'” said Gibbon.
“He came into the garage and he … wasn’t making eye contact at all and then I just called him on it. I was like, ‘Em?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah?’ And I was like, ‘Eminem?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah.’ And he looked up and pulled his hoodie down a bit and you could see him plain as day.”
Gibbon shook hands with Eminem, who filled up his vehicle with gas and bought a purple Gatorade and some nachos. The exchange was captured on the gas station’s security cameras, and Gibbon has been showing the footage to his friends.
Word spread fast, and Gibbon said everyone in town has been asking about it since. He doesn’t know anyone else who saw Eminem in town other than him and his wife.
‘I’m a bit of a fan of his’
“I go to the bank, I go to the grocery store or I go to the corner store, they’re like, ‘So was it real, was it real?'” he said.
“It’s a big thing man. It’s Eminem, you know what I mean? He’s an Oscar winning actor and producer and director and Olympic skier and he raps, he’s pretty famous.”
Gibbon says Eminem is the first celebrity to come to the gas station, but he insists he wasn’t star struck.
“I’ve probably heard every single one of his songs. I’m a bit of a fan of his, but not a crazy fan,” Gibbon told CBC News on Monday.
“I gave the man respect and gave him his space like any other person, but I knew it was him.”
Yvette McPhee, the director of marketing and programming for the Memphis area, said she posted the news to the city’s Facebook page as soon as she heard about it. She didn’t see Eminem, but she heard about it from Gibbon’s wife and thinks it was him.
She believes Eminem was in the area to visit Galloway Links, a public golf course nearby. Others on social media speculated the actor was in the area to purchase land.
‘Threw us for a loop’
McPhee wasn’t surprised when she heard Eminem might be in town. She says many celebrities visit the golf course or Graceland, but usually not in January.
“It’s the time of the year that kind of threw us for a loop,” she said.
McPhee says the biggest celebrity she got to meet in Memphis was Roch Voisine — but she said that doesn’t begin to compare to Eminem.
“He’s attractive. I think in that way there, I would have been really star struck,” she said.
It’s not Eminem’s first brush with Memphis. He mentioned Elvis in the script of his Oscar-winning film, 8 Mile, which he directed and starred in.
Gibbon says after Eminem’s visit, there aren’t too many other celebrities who could visit the gas station that would surprise him.
“It would have to be someone, I don’t know, like an Al Pacino, or something like that. That would be surprising,” he said.
Multiple calls and emails to Eminem’s publicist have not been returned.