McCartney celebrates birthday in metro

Thursday, August 7th 2008, 11:22 pm
By: News 9

By Sean Saied and Mark McBride, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Sir Paul McCartney of the Beatles celebrated his 66th birthday visiting downtown Oklahoma City and gave some local residents a welcomed surprise.

It was just a normal Tuesday at work for Peggy Hunter. She works in the gift shop at the Myriad Botanical Gardens and happens to be an avid Beatles fan.

"I am a Beatles fan, yes I am," Hunter said. "That was my very first 45."

Hunter's normal shift changed after a living legend walked through her door.

"Paul McCartney came in. He was with a friend, a young woman. They were looking at the candy and when I turned and looked, I said, ‘That's Paul McCartney.'"

Star-struck Hunter didn't know what to do other than stare.

"I said, ‘You look a lot like Paul McCartney.' He said, ‘You know, I get that a lot.'" Hunter said. "I said, ‘I bet you do.'"

Hunter said she spoke to the legend and his guest about caramels. After McCartney walked through the gardens, he and his female friend booked a room at the Skirvin Hilton, which was about the time Nonna's in Bricktown received a phone call.

"It was totally unexpected. We received a phone call that afternoon wanting to make reservations for two for Paul McCartney," said Nonna's owner Avis Scaramucci. "We kind went, ‘Oh, yeah, sure.'"

The same sentiment echoed by Toby Whiteside, a Beatles fan and waiter who was told he would be waiting on McCartney.

"I thought the whole thing was just a complete joke," Whiteside said. "Didn't believe for about the first hour of my shift, until finally, they pulled me aside and said this is really happening."

Whiteside was promptly prepared by the 8 p.m. reservation.

"Finally, 8:30 he walks through the door," Whiteside said. "And there he is."

The man responsible for hits such as "Hey Jude" and "Twist and Shout" was seated at table 33.

"I didn't really know what to expect from him, but the guy was just one of the friendliest people I ever waited on," Whiteside said.

Whiteside said McCartney initiated much of their conversation, asking the waiter about himself and Oklahoma. Whiteside said his father is a fan of the Beatles and grew up listening to the band.

"Believe he was the real deal," Whiteside said. "He was right here."

The billionaire McCartney drove a 1989 Ford Bronco along Route 66 in celebration of his 66th birthday.