Updated: Oct 9, 2020
I was working one night (1996ish) at the same gym (Powerhouse) on Main Street in Venice when a black man in a nice, full outfit, comfortable, matching top and bottom sweats, came in to see the gym. Nothing out of the ordinary, super nice guy, asked a lot of questions, we built a solid rapport. I asked if I could show him around, he was shopping for his girlfriend and himself a membership and some personal training.
The tour, and the presentation from me went well. I learned pretty early, if you become more of a listener than a talker, gym memberships sell themselves. When a person walks into a gym it's an emotional experience, something personal has affected them in a way where fitness is important now for some reason. Most times it's just how a person looks or feels, and they have had enough, time to make a change. Other times it could be a health reason, a Dr.'s recommendation, high blood pressure, stress, trouble sleeping, etc...
Once comfortable, the gentleman says "sure I love it, I will pay for two years of membership for my girl and I, plus I want to purchase training sessions for her." He said his schedule was busy at this time and couldn't commit to sessions. I said of course no problem, as we were wrapping things up and I was getting payment, I notice on his arm a watch that looked like something I'd have never seen, huge, bright, and many jewels on it. I asked sir which credit card would you like use? He reached into his pocket and pulled out a huge wad of 100's and said "I will just pay cash."
Paying in cash, for two memberships for 2 years, and I believe 36 sessions of training, was unheard of. I was then curious who the he#$ is this guy? We were on first name basis by this time, but when I saw the name Randy I didn't think of anything out of the ordinary, but once he paid with a bundle of hundreds, obviously something's odd going on here. I then had to take another look at his contract with the gym, and I saw his name was Randy Jackson. I asked, Randy, do you happen to be in a family with the Jackson last name that everybody knows? He smiled. Hit me like a ton of bricks, I have been sitting here with Randy Jackson, Michael and Janet's brother, part of the original Jackson 5.
Literally after the initial shock, I never much thought about it over the years. Randy and I have remained friends. He really appreciated the body building scene as he was a Gold's member and around that crowd for years. As a matter of fact, years later when I was running Gold's Venice I was invited to be a judge at Mr. Olympia, which I turned down every year. For one I didn't think I was qualified, I was 165 lbs soaking wet, for two, bodybuilding personally was never as I've mentioned before my passion. I do appreciate the hard work and discipline of bodybuilding and have been around it for many years, and in The Mecca of Bodybuilding Gold's Venice. However, to be a judge, or go to the competitions, I declined the offers, I would just give my show tickets to Randy.
My experience over the years with Randy Jackson was always positive, and we always would have some laughs. Again the point of these stories and blogs are to show how interesting the fitness industry can be. Stories like this is the difference of working out at home verses going to a gym. Constantly meeting folks with unique and diverse backgrounds.