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A U2 encounter

by Jen Sharpe / Edmonton Oilers
Gilbert Brule and his girlfriend Kelsey Nichols walk their dog every day, but their routine took a surpring and star-struck turn Tuesday when they spotted two rain-drenched hitchhikers.

"I wasn't driving so I got a pretty good look, and I said 'No way, that's actually Bono. No way! Why would he be here?'" Brule recalled. "I told Kelsey we've got to turn around and see if that's him."

Sure enough, it was, and despite the steady flow of traffic, the U2 lead singer and his assistant were still on the side of the road when Brule and Nichols turned around and passed up beside them once again.

In a matter of seconds, the man who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and received a honourary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II was being slobbered on by Brule's dog in the back seat of his truck.

"They're such nice people," Brule said of Bono and his assistant. "He was friendly and chatting with us, and when we dropped them off, I stayed in contact with her and she hooked us up with some passes to the U2 concert in Edmonton."

Brule said he immediately called his mom Lori Johnson and booked three flights to Edmonton. "It was a crazy ordeal. My mom was freaking out. It was just awesome."

The concert, Brule said, was "amazing."

"It was a great show. The 360 stage set was so huge and so unlike anything I've ever seen before."

To top off the once-in-a-lifetime experience, Bono saluted the young Oiler on stage in front of 65,000 fans.

“I was hitchhiking in Vancouver just yesterday, and this guy and his girlfriend picked me up and they are in a truck. And he was very cool. Turns out he was an ice hockey player – Gilbert Brule – as it happens,” the star said.

“They picked up this Irish hitchhiker and I’m ever so grateful. I’ve decided now that I want to be Gilbert Brule.”
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