• Various/Onna Carr

The Days I Got to Meet my Childhood Heroes: RDA, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge

Updated: Apr 8, 2019

Post by Henk Veldhuizen

I’ve always been a science fiction fanatic, ever since I was a little kid. I grew up with movies like Back to the Future, and Star Wars. Those movies really got me hooked on the genre. Even more so with tv shows. I’ve watched a lot of them. From the The A-team and The Knight Rider, to Airwolf and 21 Jump Street. But no actor ever captured my imagination like Richard Dean Anderson! I discovered MacGyver, and I was instantly fascinated. Every night I went out to play, I made absolutely sure I got home in time to watch a new episode in which Mac was sure to save the day again with everyday household items. But MacGyver came to an end after seven thrilling seasons. I hated that it had ended, and at that time there weren’t any DVDs you could collect, to relive every magical moment!

I think it was through a friend of mine that I found out that Richard Dean Anderson was going to star in a new TV show called Stargate SG-1. I hadn’t seen the movie before, but nonetheless it peeked my interest, solely because of the fact that RDA starred in it. So I bought the VHS tape of Children of the Gods, (yes, I said VHS, what can I say, I’m vintage). I instantly LOVED the show, (and ofcourse I still do! I even got a Stargate tattoo!) Now, I own all of the Stargate series' on DVD. And to this day Stargate SG-1 remains my favorite TV show of all time! And with that, RDA is still a childhood hero of mine.

Fast forward some years, and it’s 2016. My brother in law invited me and my brother to help him at a comic com in Belgium. He and his wife own a web shop where they sell Disney statues and other collectibles. Eager as my wife and I were, we of course said yes, and we tagged along. The main reason I didn’t have to think long before I wanted to come along, was that I knew that none other than Richard Dean Anderson a.k.a. Jack O’Neill and MacGyver was going to be at that particular Comic Con. But nothing could prepare me for the surprise that was heading for me.

Behind my back, my amazing brother Alwin had asked a number of people at FACTS, if it was possible that his brother could meet his childhood hero Richard Dean Anderson. He explained to them why it would mean so much to me. You see, I had been going through a rough period at that time, mainly because I suffer from a condition called Cluster Headaches. It’s a debilitating sickness that is so painful, that it has earned itself the nickname "Suicide Headache." I’ve even thought about doing that a few times myself, that’s how bad it was (not any more though, thank God). I also found out that I suffer from chronic depression, and the fact that I have ADD, doesn’t really help. All of this made my brother want to surprise me with a face to face meeting with RDA. Little did I know that the man came through!!

The first day at Comic Con I was just minding my station, and I was selling all kinds of Disney statues and collectibles. My brother went out to "get a drink," he said when in fact, he was actually getting a phone call from a guy backstage telling him that he and I could come over. I’ll never forget the moment that my brother came to get me. "You wanna go and meet Richard Dean Anderson?" he asked. For a few seconds it seemed as though time stood still and I found myself in a "Geeky dreamstate!" I was actually going to meet, and talk to the man who portrayed the lead hero character in my all time favorite TV shows: Jack O’neill and MacGyver for cryin’ out loud! I was so happy, and at the same time, I couldn’t be more nervous.

My brother took me back stage where we met an employee of FACTS who he had talked to for a while. This man told us to wait there for a few minutes, he said that RDA’s manager would come and talk to me first. Both he and RDA where genuinely intrigued when they learned that I had Cluster Headaches they had no idea what it was, and what it meant for someone to have it. What I didn’t know was, that both RDA and his manager hat attended a conference a few days prior to the comic con. The conference was about conditions to the brain and all sorts of related topics. So when RDA’s manager asked about my condition, I knew that he was genuinely concerned. After talking to him for about 3 minutes, he told me he was going to get RDA "He should have finished his lunch by now," he said. There I was--ready to totally Geek out!

I can’t really describe the feeling that I got when I saw RDA, Col. Jack O’Neill, walking towards me, but if I had to, it’d say it was a mixture of surprise, unbelief, nostalgia, happiness and gratitude. I completely froze at that moment! At a moment like that, you really hope you don’t say anything stupid, and it was the same for me. Luckily I soon found out that RDA is a total gentleman and one of the coolest human beings I ever got to meet!! "Oh, my it’s you!" I stammered nervously. "I can’t believe this is happening, I’m totally geeking out right now," I continued (yes, I actually uttered those words). RDA smiled and replied with a friendly face by saying: "Oh please, that’s okay."

Before, when I was waiting for him to come to me, I thought I was going to ask him all kinds of things regarding Stargate, and MacGyver and so on. But when we finally got to talk, he was interested in me, and who I was, and what Cluster Headaches was and what it meant. We talked about my daughters (I’m married, and I have two daughters), and about his daughter. Before you could ask me if RDA could be any cooler, I would tell you that that would be quite impossible. After that day though, I found out that besides being an amazing actor, RDA is a true gentleman and such an amazing an awesome human being. That day I was wearing a Cluster Headache awareness t-shirt that I designed myself! I almost couldn’t believe it, when he asked me if could send him one. Of course I would, and I did!

I couldn’t believe my luck, this was a day to never ever forget! Before that day I was already a huge fan of all things Stargate, but my love for the show(s) only grew bigger and bigger. I must’ve watched SG-1 and SGA about 5 or 6 times now (hahahahah), and I’m still not done!

From one eternal Stargate fan: Have a ‘Gate’ day!! Sincerely,

Henk Veldhuizen

To read "The Days I Got to Meet my Childhood Heroes: Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, and Corin Nemec Part 2," click here.

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