Photo: David Phillips/Columbia News Service. “Greg Packer stood in line for eight hours before meeting Brandy, the pop singer.”
There’s more fascinating detail on Greg Packer at Wikipedia:
“Greg Packer (born December 18, 1963), an American highway maintenance worker from Huntington, New York, has been quoted in more than 100 articles and television broadcasts as a member of the public (that is, a person on the street rather than a newsmaker or expert).
Packer’s status as a frequent interviewee came about due to his hobby of attending public appearances of celebrities and other media events and being first in line on such occasions. He has consequently had the opportunity to meet people including Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks, Dennis Rodman, and Ringo Starr, as well as at least three presidents of the United States: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.”
Even columnist Ann Coulter has sussed him out. After Packer was widely quoted in a NYT piece about fans of Hilary Clinton, Coulter went investigating. She found:
It was easy for the Times to spell Packer’s name right because he is apparently the entire media’s designated “man on the street” for all articles ever written. He has appeared in news stories more than 100 times as a random member of the public. Packer was quoted on his reaction to military strikes against Iraq; he was quoted at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Veterans Day Parade. He was quoted at not one — but two — New Year’s Eve celebrations at Times Square. He was quoted at the opening of a new “Star Wars” movie, at the opening of an H&M clothing store on Fifth Avenue and at the opening of the viewing stand at Ground Zero. He has been quoted at Yankees games, Mets games, Jets games — even getting tickets for the Brooklyn Cyclones. He was quoted at a Clinton fund-raiser at Alec Baldwin’s house in the Hamptons and the pope’s visit to Giants stadium.
And as a result of the column, Packer got his own profile in the Times: “Long Island Everyman Masters the Sound Bite.”