MOUNT VERNON — People will always remember where they were when they heard the news: “The King of Pop is dead.” For many of those horror-stricken fans, memories of their favorite songs or most beloved videos of Michael Jackson will come to mind.
For those who had the chance to see him on the street or in concert, or meet him in person, the news of his death will always remain.
It was a typical day in October 1983, but it was a day one local resident, Michael Kirk, will always remember.
“I was working for Disney World in Orlando, Fla., at the Contemporary Hotel where the monorail went through,” said Kirk. “And I was working in room service when Michael Jackson came to the hotel. He had a room registered to him on the 14th floor that was paid all year-round; he came there to rest after he did the Thriller album. They called down for dinner that night so I fixed him eggplant parmesan, vegetables, salad and some fruit.”
Little did Kirk know that about half an hour later, the King of Pop would pay him a visit.
“He had some bodyguards with him when he came down to the kitchen and asked who cooked the meal. I said, ‘I did, Mr. Jackson.’ He said it was one of the best meals he ever had,” said Kirk. “I was very surprised and I shook his hand.”
Kirk recalls Jackson’s kindness, and that he was polite and quiet.
“It was a great privilege to meet him because at that time he was on top of the world in entertainment. ... He is an icon,” he said.
On Thursday, the world was told Michael Jackson died.
“I think he died ahead of his time, and I think he had a lot more to give,” said Kirk. “I would have liked to see [Michael Jackson] live long enough to come out with his new tour and I think it would have put him back on top of the world.”
Kirk’s favorite memory of the pop singer was seeing for the first time the music video, Thriller.
“Seeing him turn into a werewolf, I would have to say was the best video I ever saw,” said Kirk. “And when he performed with the Jackson 5, with his brothers, it was another very good memory of him.”
Jackson’s chart-topping hits such as “Beat it,” “Billie Jean,” “Thriller,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Black or White” and “Bad” are among the songs that rocked the world with new sounds.
“I agree that he was considered to be a musical genius. You are not going to see anything like that again,” said Kirk. “My heart is very sad that he passed; the world has lost a great entertainer.”