Ben Affleck spotted in Cheticamp, surprises gas station manager
'He looked up and pulled his tuque up a bit and you could see him plain as day'
A gas station manager in Cheticamp got a big surprise last week when he says Hollywood actor Ben Affleck stopped by his station to fuel up.
Mike Gibbon, the manager at Cormier's Service Station, says Affleck pulled up in an SUV around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Gibbon says he knew it was Affleck right away. His wife, Christina, who was also working at the gas station at the time, thought he was joking.
"I looked back at my wife and I was like, 'That guy looks an awful lot, too much like Ben Affleck not to be Ben Affleck,'" said Gibbon.
"He came into the garage and he … wasn't making eye contact at all and then I just called him on it. I was like, 'Ben?' And he was like, 'Yeah?' And I was like, 'Ben Affleck?' And he was like, 'Yeah.' And he looked up and pulled his tuque up a bit and you could see him plain as day."
Gibbon shook hands with Affleck, who filled up his vehicle with gas and bought a purple Gatorade. The exchange was captured on the gas station's security cameras, and Gibbon has been showing the footage to his friends.
Word spread fast, and Gibbon said everyone in town has been asking about it since. He doesn't know anyone else who saw Affleck in town other than him and his wife.
'I'm a bit of a fan of his'
"I go to the bank, I go to the grocery store or I go to the corner store, they're like, 'So was it real, was it real?'" he said.
"It's a big thing man. It's Ben Affleck, you know what I mean? He's an Oscar winning actor and producer and director, he's pretty famous."
Gibbon says Affleck is the first celebrity to come to the gas station, but he insists he wasn't star struck. He didn't even ask Affleck for a photo.
"I've probably seen every single one of his movies. I'm a bit of a fan of his, but not a crazy fan," Gibbon told CBC News on Monday.
"I gave the man respect and gave him his space like any other person, but I knew it was him."
Yvette McPhee, the director of marketing and programming for the Cheticamp area, said she posted the news to the town's Facebook page as soon as she heard about it. She didn't see Affleck, but she heard about it from Gibbon's wife and thinks it was him.
She believes Affleck was in the area to visit Gampo Abbey, a Buddhist monastery nearby. Others on social media speculated the actor was in the area to purchase land.
'Threw us for a loop'
McPhee wasn't surprised when she heard Affleck might be in town. She says many celebrities visit the Cabot Trail, but usually not in April.
"It's the time of the year that kind of threw us for a loop," she said.
McPhee says the biggest celebrity she got to meet in Cheticamp was Roch Voisine — but she said that doesn't begin to compare to Affleck.
"He's attractive. I think in that way there, I would have been really star struck," she said.
It's not Affleck's first brush with Nova Scotia. He mentioned Halifax in the script of his Oscar-winning 2012 film, Argo, which he directed and starred in.
Gibbon says after Affleck's visit, there aren't too many other celebrities who could visit the gas station that would surprise him.
"It would have to be someone, I don't know, like an Al Pacino, or something like that. That would be surprising," he said.
Multiple calls and emails to Affleck's publicist have not been returned.