This South Side Great-Grandmother Meeting Denzel Washington Is the Best Thing Ever

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One South Side Chicago great-grandmother, who is a die-hard Denzel Washington fan, got the surprise of her life over the weekend when the actor pulled up in a car outside her own house—as if that sort of thing happens every day.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Juanita Hubbard, 86, was waiting for Sears to deliver a new refrigerator to her home that fateful Saturday, but what she got was so much better.

The award-winning actor apparently was looking for Leon’s Barbecue restaurant when he and his driver decided to stop to ask for directions, right at Mama Hubbard’s doorstep.

Some of Hubbard’s two children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren had been gathered at the house for a family member’s birthday and were about to head out for pizza when the car pulled up.

“You have to meet Mama,” Janet Hubbard, Hubbard’s daughter, told the actor.

“Where’s Mama?” the actor asked as he headed to the door to greet her.

Mama Hubbard lit up when she saw her favorite actor standing before her, immediately turning into the superfan that she is, gripping Washington’s arm as he recited lines from Training Day for her.


“I’m not gonna let you go,” she told Washington.

Mama Hubbard told the Sun-Times that she “grabbed on and never wanted to let go,” adding that Washington’s hands “felt like velvet.”


“I never would have thought he would show up on my doorstep,” she told the news site. “I couldn’t believe it.

“Everything he plays, every film he’s in, that’s my favorite,” she added.

The Sun-Times notes that Hubbard is well-known and well-loved around her neighborhood, having provided child care to more than 600 South Side babies since 1959. However, for the past three years she has not been able to live at the home that she’s resided in for almost 50 years, since she can’t afford to get the floors repaired.


However, Washington’s visit has the great-grandmother geared up, hoping that she can get her floors repaired soon, “so [Denzel] can come back and I can fix him some barbecue like at Leon’s,” she said.

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Breanna Edwards

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi