Way back in 2011 we were exhibiting at our 3rd Dragon Con when Carrie Fisher and her handlers walked right up to our table. We were so busy at the time we really didn’t notice exactly who it was that pointed at one of our Rick Vetch designs and said, “That’s funny.”
It didn’t dawn on me until the cluster of people were walking away that Princess Leia had singled out one of our Tee shirts as she was passing our booth.
She slowly strolled over to the corner just left of our spot, sat on the floor behind some bins, was surrounded by her protectors and took a quiet break in one of the only spaces where she could remain anonymous.
I was attempting to be as cool as possible with geek royalty just a few feet away, but it wasn’t easy. I knew the last thing she wanted was to be bothered by another geek, after all, she was away from her table which meant she was on her time, not ours.
I said to the vendor helping us, “Dude, there’s Princess Leia!”
“Yeah, no kidding, we’re at Dragon con, there’s a thousand Princess Leias.”
“Look to your left slowly, be cool…..there sitting on the floor…”
He turned to me bug-eyed, “Dude! It’s Princess Leia!”
As Miss Fisher sat in the corner, legs outstretched, comfortably vaping on her vapor device, each of her handlers came to the table, one at a time, asked the price of the shirt, and purchased one. I’m not sure whether they wanted to surprise her, or if, since it had been deemed officially funny by Leia Organa herself, they decided they each needed one to impress friends and family, but nonetheless it was awfully sweet of them to purchase shirts from us.
When Miss Fisher was ready to leave, she once again stopped by our booth and with her clutch of an entourage standing between her and our table, one of the handlers again asked, “How much?’
We knew that she knew, we’d already sold her and her friends this very shirt, but we didn’t see any reason to make the situation anymore awkward than it already was.
I asked, “Is it for her?” pointing at Fisher.
“Yes, it is.”
“Take it, no charge. We can’t take money from Princess Leia, she is one of the reasons we are here doing what we are doing. Could we get a picture of her with the shirt, though?
They were as nice as they could be when they told us no. After all, it was their job to keep Carrie from being hounded by photograph seekers and autograph hounds. They were just doing their jobs when they told us that, no, there just wasn’t enough time. Miss Fisher had a panel to attend and had to be on her way.
We said we understood and handed the shirt to the woman who turned and handed the shirt to Carrie Fisher. Carrie looked grateful and a bit exasperated. She said to her handler as she made a camera clicking motion with her finger, “Do they want my picture?”
The two women standing between us and Carrie said that, yes, we had in fact asked but were told that you weren’t available for photos at this time.
Carrie smiled a wry little smile, motioned with her hands for the two women to clear out of the way and posed for this photo:
We didn’t know Carrie Fisher. We only had this little exchange with her at what has become our favorite convention, due in no small part to beautiful little interactions just like this one.
We lost a lot of wonderful people in 2016, but Carrie Fisher’s passing hit us pretty hard.