Chris Cantore, describes a chance encounter between his grandparents and Michael Jackson on an airplane, which proves to be an endearing story of how gentle and kind a human being Michael Jackson continually demonstrated himself to be. Listen to radio interview at bottom of post.
Radio Interview Transcript- June 26, 2009
Interviewer: We’re just putting some things in perspective, paying respect to Michael from a lot of different angles and on the line right now we have a friend of mine who woke up San Diego for years with a killer radio show and is now doing big things with multimedia and PR at Chriscantore.com, what’s up Chris?
Chris: Hey my brother how are you?
Int: I’m excellent and you?
Chris: Wonderful and first of all, considering and want to say that all of you are doing a great job with the tribute and remembering MJ.
Int: Thanks man, and I hear you have a very personal story.
Chris: Yeah, this is crazy and I actually used to tell this on my radio show annually around Christmas time. It became a tradition and we used to call the segment “Michael Jackson Saved My Grandma” and it’s nuts especially when you look at his history and you look at his trajectory and all the controversy surrounding him, this story really touches the human spirit and really shows underneath all the paparazzi and craziness was a guy who really cares about human beings.
It was a real testament to the situation where essentially my grandparents, it was in December, 1997 and my grandparents were flying in from JFK in New York to LAX to visit my family for Christmas. On the flight my grandmother gets sick and ends up passing out and falling in the aisle – they were sitting Coach. My grandfather is stressing out and Michael Jackson, it turns out, is sitting in first class. No one on the plane knew and he had first class reserved for himself, security entourage and people he travelled with. He hears about what’s going on in coach and Michael Jackson gets out of his seat and runs back to help my grandmother and when she comes to he’s hovering over her (laughs)
Chris: Seriously and he’s like “Do you need help?” and she comes to and my grandfather’s there and essentially, he invites my grandparents into first class.
Int: You’re kidding me?
Chris: .. so she can get proper attention and part of Michael’s entourage includes medical support and what have you.
Chris: .. so while my grandmother is kind of getting her lucidity back if you will, my grandfather ends up having a two hour dialogue with Michael Jackson 35,000 feet in the air.
Chris: And what’s insane about my grandfather, and this is why I love him so much, God rest his soul, is that he looked at Michael as if he couldn’t care less if he were Michael Jackson or a plumber and he just engaged him in honest conversation and they talked about family, they talked about Michael’s childhood and they talked about Italy which were my grandfather’s three favorite things to talk about and they had this amazing dialogue. When they land, Michael says, “I’m not letting you guys figure out your way” because my parents at this point might have been alerted that something happened on the plane – everything’s cool. Rather then having my grandparents go off on their own they basically said, “hey, you know what? We’re going to take you to your destination”.
Int: You’re kidding me?
Chris: No. So they get my grandmother a wheelchair and Michael Jackson is pushing my grandmother through the LAX Airport through all these backend crazy little caverns – they’re not dealing with the public but word gets out that Michael Jackson’s at LAX right when he’s pushing my grandmother through and trying to be secretive, not to get any attention. Granted you think they’re trying to get publicity doing stuff like this, he’s doing his best to divert the paparazzi to help my grandparents so they end up doing three different limo changes just to divert the paparazzi with my grandmother in the wheelchair.
Int: Wow – that is great!
Chris: They get in the limo, they hit the 405 on the way to the Valley to see my parents, again it’s Christmas time and Michael pops in his favorite movie at the time “Men in Black” so we have Michael Jackson and my grandparents watching “Men in Black” in his limo (laughing) on his way to my folks house. They show up to my parents and my mom opens the door and there’s my grandfather, my grandmother and, hand to God dude, Michael Jackson carrying their bags.
So they come in the house and Michael was totally enamored by my parent’s Christmas tree and the family spirit that he felt in the house and he couldn’t stop talking about how he felt so much love and warmth in the house and he was enamored by the Christmas tree and just the spirit that was in the house and he was kind of sticking around and kind of looking around and not sure what to do and my mom’s theory is he was kind of, just based on his, obviously career, he was waiting around like “hey, you guys want a picture or something?” for sentiment or what not, but my mom was just so blown away by what happened they never even took a picture to document the event BUT, I got a big but here though – what I do have and I was going to post this on my blog later to is Michael Jackson actually signed a menu in first class for my parents when they were still in route on their way to Los Angeles and hold on I had my mom scan it and send it down to me and it says “To Concetta De Lisi and Joseph De Lisi, please feel better, love you always, Michael Jackson.
Int: Hey man, that’s a great story Chris, you know that on a day like today just hoping that the stars will shine your way and you will get the right callers and the right guests on and I couldn’t have paid for a better story the day after Michael’s passing. Thank you my friend.
Chris: Right on brother. Peace!
Int: Right on dude.
Int: Wow, that’s crazy. chriscantore.com keep up with Chris, he’s a great guy and such a creative dude doing cool things. What a story, gotta get that story on CNN or something.
For more information on Chris Cantore visit sdrba-