Have you ever wondered what it’s like to meet a famous person? I recently had the chance to meet Steve Van Doren, son of Paul Van Doren, the cofounder of Vans.

Steve and Kristy Van Doren (his daughter) held a contest for all Vans’ stores to send in the most creative Christmas card with a photo of all the employees, Santa included.

What our managers and employees came up with at the store in the Layton Hills Mall where I work was a video of a Vans shoe box with all our staff and the store inside a box. It’s like a pop-up book, but inside a box. If you look on YouTube and search “Happy Holidays! From Vans 324,” then you can get a better visual of what I’m trying to explain.

I was actually in the store when Steve called to tell us our store had won the contest. A co-worker told me while I was helping a customer. We were ecstatic! After the call, our manager told us that we would be going to dinner with Steve Van Doren. It was such an honor to win the contest and have the opportunity to meet this Vans celebrity. It took about two months for the dinner with Steve to actually happen.

The day that Steve came to Utah, in early March, it was snowing! Of course, it being Utah it would snow. For some reason, I thought the dinner was at 7:30 p.m. It was at 7 p.m. — I left my house at 7 p.m. I sat in the parking lot of Roosters, waiting. I texted one of my friends and it turned out that everyone else was already there! Horrified, I ran inside and met up with everyone.

Steve Van Doren is the kind of guy you feel at ease with. He ordered us all of the appetizers. I tried calamari, which is squid if you didn’t know. It was a little too rubbery tasting for my liking.

The dinner was amazing. There were all sorts of rich stories about Vans. Paul Van Doren, Steve’s father, came up with the idea of a shoe box that has a connected lid. It’s pretty cool to think that he was the first person to come up with that idea, since everyone making shoes back in the day had boxes with removable lids.

Steve then gave a speech. The kind of speech that really makes you think and inspires you. The kind of speech that should be written down in a textbook. Steve said, “Be passionate about what you do.” Just being in the same room with him gives you the feeling that this guy in front of you is very wise. He knows how to pull the strings of life in the right way. You just want to hear everything he has to say to learn more from him. He is an inspiring person who can make anyone go out and complete their dreams.

While we were taking pictures with him, Steve took out his tablet and took pictures of the people taking pictures of him. He’s just a genuine guy. I got to take a selfie with him and that was very cool. He doesn’t act like someone who thinks that they are better than everyone else; he’s just your average comedic guy who is really cool to talk to. And he’s very passionate about what he does, and that’s something that he could never lose.

Having dinner with Steve Van Doren felt normal after I got to actually know him. The nerves went away and I opened up. He’s one of those celebrities who are just down to earth and amazing all on their own.

Ceneca Solis is a junior at Clearfield High School. She enjoys art and spending time with her family and friends. Contact her 16csolis@davis.k12.ut.us.

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