I’m sure you are all aware of the passing of Olivia Newton-John at the age of seventy-three.
I had the pleasure and privilege of spending a week with her in 1979. At the time she was one of the biggest stars on the planet. The hit musical Grease with John Travolta had just come out and it had catapulted her to being a world-wide superstar .
She was staying at the Banff Springs Hotel at the time with her boyfriend/manager Lee Kramer. I was lucky enough to be assigned to taking care of Lee while the ski school director abused his power by choosing to ski with Olivia. (No brainer really, who could blame him?)
I did however have lunch and dinner with her every day that week. But my favourite part of the day was the journey to-and-from the various resorts in the car. Olivia would sing along to whatever song came on the radio and it was pretty cool to say the least!
One day we were driving up to Lake Louise and it was bitter cold. It was proper Canadian-cold with the temperature hovering around -25C. There was a couple of desperate looking hitch-hikers on the side of the road and they looked seriously cold. Olivia didn’t hesitate and asked Lee to pull over and give them a lift.
I’ll never forget the look on their faces when they climbed into the car and Olivia Newton-John turned around to welcome them with a huge smile. Imagine being desperate for a ride in -25C and have a car finally pull over for you. And then have it turn out to be one of the most recognisable faces in the world? A few moments later she broke into a full voiced accompaniment to ‘Slow Hand’ by the Pointer Sisters. Wow, what a moment and those hitch-hikers will have been living off that story to this day!
That experience will always stick with me. She was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She was kind, polite, unassuming and funny. (And she was a beautiful with a great voice.) I have always been and will remain a huge Olivia Newton-John fan!