Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

My Sam Heughan encounter April 20, 2015


A true story.

Back in the summer of 2013, there was a lot of excitement over Ron Moore starting the process of casting for Outlander.  When Sam Heughan was cast in July, he and author Diana Gabaldon started tweeting a lot, and it was fun to be part of the delight and anticipation.  Diana teased him a LOT, and he gave as good as he got.

On August 2, Sam tweeted that he was going to Canada.  I expected him to be going to Ontario, because when people talk Canada, I know they’re not usually thinking of us here in the West. The next thing we knew, Sam had posted an Instagram selfie of himself beside a lake.  I looked at the photo and posted on Facebook, “That looks suspiciously like he’s in the Okanagan…”  i.e. my home town of Kelowna.  I tweeted him and offered to take him out for coffee.  So far, Sam hadn’t had any ‘Outlander fan’ meetings,’ and it would have been fun to meet him, say hi, chat about the books, and the adventure he was about to embark upon.  I know Diana from writing conferences, so she could vouch that I wasn’t anyone creepy (See PPPS, below 🙂 ).  Sam did not reply.  (Not that I was surprised at that; you know the adage: nothing ventured, nothing gained!)

He posted assorted photos from around our region, including one of a relation and a beat up old pick up that they were travelling around in.  August 7 he posted a photo of himself in the Rockies that sounded like he was leaving the country.  I presumed he had made it to Calgary and gone back to Scotland.

August 8, I headed across the Rockies to a writing conference in Calgary  (When Words Collide- a very entertaining Sci-Fi/Fantasy event).  I was on my own in my cute lime green bug, Sheila.  Along the way, I saw a couple of young men standing beside a vaguely familiar old pick up on the side of the TransCanada Highway.  The guys were looking scruffy in shorts and Tshirts.  I glanced over as I drove by; one of the scruffy young men met my eyes.  I always wish I could stop in these situations, but as a woman travelling alone, without mechanical skill, I do not.  I tried to look sympathetic as I gave him a smile, but alone in my cute little Bug, I didn’t stop.BugcovercropTwitter

I got to Calgary, checked into my hotel and about 9 pm that night, logged into Twitter to read that Sam Heughan had been stranded on the side of the TransCanada Highway for 4 hours that afternoon.  The truck had broken down on the way to Calgary.

The truck I passed.

I met Sam Heughan’s





Sam *does* drive around all the time in my Bug, in the guise of a ‘Pocket Jamie’ tucked behind the bud vase.  When I picked up Diana Gabaldon at the airport last year, she climbed into the passenger seat, caught sight of him, pulled out her phone to take a picture and laughingly said, “Pocket Jamie sure gets around!” 😉


In the interest of complete honesty… There were 2 young men.  One was at the front of the truck, looking down, like at a phone; one was walking around the box and he looked up and met my eyes.  I think the one whose eyes I met, was actually Sam’s relation, and Sam was the one at the front, busy with his phone, not noticing me go by at all.  But that is not nearly as fun a tale, and so I apply literary licence.  I like to think that if Sam had looked up, I would have actually recognized him, and ‘knowing’ him, would have stopped.  Right?  (cough).  So it’s his own fault he was stranded so long.  If he’d been paying better attention to cute bugs driving by, he could have be rescued far sooner!  😉   At any rate, I definitely saw Sam.  It’s just 50/50 whether he saw me! 😉  Though you’d think he’d at least remember a car that looks like this, wouldn’t you?


In looking for the links to Sam’s tweets for this post, I came across this whole hilarious conversation between Diana and me that happened through the wee hours of August 4-5.  The poem she refers to is (which she helped me write, the traitor).  🙂  Perhaps in consolation, Diana dedicated her daily lines to me on August 5th.   Fair trade, really.  😉  Summer 2013 was full to ->bursting<- with Outlander magic.


10 Responses to “My Sam Heughan encounter”

  1. Heather Says:

    That is beyond weirdly awesome. I would love to have some sort of interaction like that. And you’re not alone. I drive around in a pick-up truck at the moment and do a fair bit of evening/night driving and have little to no auto skills so, like you, I want to stop, but don’t. Not unless I obviously know the person or if I’m going to to help a friend who calls me because he/she is stranded.

    • It’s not as if I have my phone on, or as if there’s even cell coverage through the Rockies, but if I’d had a Tweet come in (perhaps read automatically by a synthesized voice) that said, “I’m stranded on the TCH- Sam” I am pretty sure I’d have been watching! I *had* noticed that beaten up old truck in a photo he’d posted the week before. It was distinctively. I think I thought something like, “Weird. That’s the second old truck I’ve seen this week.” *facepalm*

  2. You came close enough to employ literary license, and that makes all the difference. 🙂

    • lol My thoughts, exactly! 🙂

      (You know, I gave each member of my Creative Writing class a Literary Licence with supplementary Poetic Licence, complete with seal and their names hand written in calligraphy. It was supposed to empower them to use their imaginations and know that they have freedom to make mistakes and change facts to make a better story. It seems to have had a rather more profound effect than I imagined.)

  3. Enjoyed your story of Missed opportunity. I remember when I was a teenager we would hitch-hike often and met some nice people. Sad, that we had to replace trust with a fear of survival. So the way of the world now.

  4. […] the passing him on the highway, that’s true, too!  August 2013 Sam came to BC to visit a relative near where I live.  Read the details […]

  5. Christohper Jae Says:

    Reading this many years later! I have been thinking of Sam’s family as I watch Outlander. Sam’s dad was a friend, and also teacher to my children. I wonder if Sam was visiting his dad on that trip, who passed away that winter. What a lovely and fun memory for you! As for those of us who knew Sam’s dad – we never got the chance to meet Sam so all we have now is to say “We were friends of Sam’s dad!” He was an enchanting man ………xo

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