Written by: Jayne Coleman and guest contributor Maralyn Goldsmith
We have a saying in South Africa — ‘n Boer maak ‘n plan — i.e., a farmer makes a plan. Well, two South African Sassenachs did just that to scoop Sam Heughan’s arrival at the Cape Town airport.
We Facebooked, tweeted and watched the Emerald City ComiCon panel with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, listening super-carefully for any small hint we could use to make a plan. I checked airline departures, arrivals, travel times. We worked out when Sam might be arriving in Cape Town — sometime Monday morning, between 11 and 3, we thought. Maralyn was the Outlander Cast Clan Gathering member on the spot and she was super excited to see if we could make this plan come together. And we DID! Hannibal of The A Team would be proud of us. Here’s more about our sleuthing…
We’d done some educated guessing based on one of Sam’s tweets about an epic journey this weekend, Cait saying at ECCC that she had two suitcases waiting in London to be picked up, our googling of flight times and lengths from Seattle to London, then London to Johannesburg… or the direct flight from Seattle to Johannesburg and then the link flight to Cape Town that would have them arriving about 11 a.m. South African time.
Our first hint we were right? Sam’s plane on the tarmac.
Not being greedy, Maralyn asked a couple of friends to go along with her and, with books firmly clutched in hands, they sashayed into the airport. They were lucky (or plucky) enough to find Dave Brown, the producer, who they asked about the possibility of talking to Sam.??
I’ll let Maralyn take it over from here…
I am absolutely over the moon!!!! I got to meet our Jamie (Sam Heughan) at the South African International airport this morning [as they arrived to film] for the third season of Outlander in Cape Town. I took two fans and met up first with the producer, Dave Brown. He was very nice when I spoke to him. He wanted to know how we knew Sam was landing at that time and whether they leaked something, but I assured him that we figured it out ourselves after Sam’s tweet that he was halfway on his way to South Africa. Dave was quite impressed, but also asked that we give Sam space when he arrived so he could ask Sam if he would like to meet us. We agreed to stand to one side, and while our hearts were pumping ten to a dozen, we waited and prayed that we would get this rare opportunity to meet him in person. ?
Dave then spoke to him and and — voila — Sam agreed to meet us and sign our Outlander books! Oh my Lordie, Sam was just so nice about it. The friendliest person ever and never mind how tired he was from the flight, he still smiled and was so adorable. We called him our Sassenach as he is now our Outlander. He laughed at that and we had a good old chat. (Wish I could take him home with me.)
And here’s another picture I took with Sam, along with my sister, Felicity, and friend, Belinda.
Jayne again… I have to admit I got the shakes and goosies myself when I read Maralyn’s e-mail confirming that the quest had been successful, even beyond our wildest dreams.
But our cup was still to run over — Sam tweeted this message after meeting Maralyn and the others:
We DID it! Guessed right and got the scoop! Triple deluxe covered in chocolate — Sam arriving in Cape Town with fans to meet him. Thanks, Sam, for being so generous with fans, even after traveling more than halfway around the world without stopping. Most people would snarl after 13 or 14 hours on a plane, but Sam was his usual gracious self. We have a Laird in a million.
And WELCOME/ WELKOM/WAMKELEKILE to our beautiful country of South Africa! Hope you have a magical stay with us, our Uitlander/Sassenach. Want to read more about what the Outlander cast and crew might do in South Africa? We’ve got suggestions.
Wonderful sleuthing ladies. Great pictures.
Thanks for sharing this great experience with us and for being great fandom ambassadors!
Thanks Lisa, Winfield and Karen – sometimes the universe co-operates with you and it surely did today.
Well done Sassenachs!!
Excellent work, and so impressed that Sam is incredibly gracious even after a long flight. We're lucky to have such talented and approachable actors & crew making our beloved Outlander!
That was great. Very lucky ladies. That's for sharing.
I had a similar experience when Sam was nominated for Best Actor at the inaugural Scottish Culture Awards. I thought he might attend since the ceremony was in Glasgow and when I inquired about the event I found I could get tickets! I was even seated at the table next to Sam! He was so kind and spoke with us several times during the evening and we got pictures and autographs. It was definitely a big highlight of my dream trip to Scotland! I never thought in a million years I would get such an opportunity and Mr. Heughan definitely did not disappoint! I'll never forget his kindness to fans.
Thanks so much Gail and we had a blast too!
We're working on it but no promises at this stage! Glad you enjoyed the share,
I know Frances, I can't imagine looking that good or being so amiable after a 14 hour +- flight. He was so kind and generous with his time too,
A little bit of sleuthing and connecting the dots meant we got this great interaction just as you did Ruth. Glad you know what it feels like.
Thanks so much. We had manners drummed into us from little so it's not hard to treat someone with courtesy and respect, especially when you know how generous Sam is with fans. As my Nanna used to say 'good manners don't cost a thing'.
I know Tammy – he's always courteous, kind and approachable – there's no diva there for sure.
Well it's three years now and he's done a number of fan events, comicons, etc. In fact he flew out of Seattle where he and Caitriona had attended the Emerald City Comic Con. He didn't show the least bit of irritation at not escaping fans in CT either. The opposite in fact – very warm and friendly,
What a wonderful experience Laura and just another testimony about the calibre of person he is. He really embodies so many of Jamie' best traits it's as if he was born for the role,
A very nice welcome. Thanks for sharing the story and pictures with us. I hope that you are able to do the same for Caitriona. Great SA Outlander fans. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for sharing. He looks amazingly awake after his weekend here in Seattle and then his flight to Cape Town. I figured it would be possible to figure out his arrival time.
I had a similar experience in New York when Sam was in town to promote Barbour. I correctly guessed that he would start his day at the private showroom for press & VIP stuff before heading up to the public events at the Barbour store and Bloomies. Lucky me. I had him all to myself when he left the Barbour show room. So I know how you girls feel and I am so happy for you!
So impressed with the attention to Sam's privacy and space. That shows true Outlander class!
How very cool, and thanks for all the sleuthing. Not sure I would have that much guts, but fun to read your story. And how generous and hospitable of Sam to meet with fans. I have to wonder if he's a little new to all this fandom too!
Thank You so much Ladies for being so clever & sharing all this,what a great gent.Sam is,please keep us informed!?
Hi Zsuzsip, Thanks so much for commenting, we will certainly try and keep you in the loop. Jayne
Good on you all! Way to welcome our Sam without being weird or wild! Classy and SASSY! xo
I love all these stories! Thanks so much for sharing.
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Thanks Aunt Sus. I really felt a responsibility as we represent South Africa and South Africans as well as OCB. Thanks for the sassy and classy comment – I love it. Jayne
Such a pleasure for us KitKat. Will hopefully keep them coming.
Sleuthing? And you are do proud of it? It sounds very intrusive and invasive.
Unknown,rather harsh of you.The ladies are just good fans of OL & keeping us informed & I'm grateful,nobody was stalking anyone!
"Jealous much? What would you do if you got the chance to meet Sam like this?"
Sorry, but since you asked, I'd respect his privacy. I'd remember how I feel after a long flight and would not impose my fangirling on the poor guy. Of course he was gracious, the man is a real gentleman who goes above and beyond for the fans. All the more reason to leave him alone when he is not promoting the show.
You Ladies rock!!!! AND are so lucky and privileged to have met such a gentleman. So happy you've shared your story and photos with us. Hope all the cast & crew have a wonderful experience in SA. I know we are going to be blessed with an awesome 3rd series.
You are of course entitled to your opinion VZA and I respect that. I would like to reiterate that we actually did stand back and wait until it was okayed and treated him in a very considerate way. We didn't march up and demand anything. Also there were only 3 ladies who were there, it was nothing like the screaming crowds he has to deal with in many other places. They were very polite and welcoming. If he had said no they would have accepted it graciously. Sam tweeted after meeting them that he had a lovely welcome to South Africa. He need not have said anything at all on social media. I don't want to get into a back and forth about this because, as I say, I respect your right to have a different opinion and to express it.
Thanks so much Helen for your lovely comment. We are going to have a really wonderful season 3 as they bring Voyager to life. I am really looking forward to watching it when it starts in September.
Harsh? Hmm..I don't think so. Just an observation of a behavior.
Great job ladies!Great investigative work,very impressive.Really appreciate all you do to get the inside scoop, it's certainly not easy. Sam is surely dreamy????Here's to #Voyager ????????????
Thanks so much Susan. We appreciate the positive comments about the piece. And yes, here's to a wonderful Voyager ahead!!
Hi Jayne, do you know if anyone is organizing a Cape Town OL fan meet with the cast while they are here? I would be interested in attending.
Hi Lilian, We are planning a get-together of local fans on Friday night 7th April at Mitchell's Scottish Ale Pub at the V&A Waterfront. No cast members I'm afraid but it should be fun anyway. You can email me at email@example.com to confirm if you can attend. Thanks, Jayne