Oiler Brule gave lift to hitchhiking Bono

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Kelsey Nichols, right, Gilbert Brule and Brule's mom
Lori Johnson at Wednesday's U2 concert in
Commonwealth. Photograph by: Ben Gelinas

By Ben Gelinas, Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON - Edmonton Oiler Gilbert Brule and his girlfriend picked up an unusual hitchhiker in West Vancouver on Tuesday -- U2 frontman Bono.

Brule and girlfriend Kelsey Nichols were driving to a park to walk Bella, their German shepherd, on Tuesday afternoon near the West Vancouver Yacht club when they spotted a couple of hitchhikers on the side of the road.

Brule, watching out the window, was sure one of them was Bono.

Nichols, who was driving, didn't believe him, because, really, why would Bono be hitchhiking in West Van?

"I didn't want to stop, but they waved and G yelled 'that's Bono'," Nichols said Wednesday night at Commonwealth Stadium. "I didn't believe him so I kept driving."

The couple went on, a short distance anyway, all the while Brule trying to convince Nichols to turn around. Eventually, she agreed.

The hitchhikers were still there when they drove up, so they yelled out: "Bono!"

He waved and walked over to their truck.

The Irishman, who indeed was Bono, asked if they could give him and his assistant a lift to Horseshoe Bay. Of course, Brule and Nichols obliged.

Turns out, he and his assistant had gone out for a walk when it started to rain, just before Brule and Nichols happened upon them.

On the drive to Horseshoe Bay, Bono and his assistant sat in the back with the couple's dog. The four chatted about Brule's hockey career, about Dublin and Bono's apparent love for Vancouver.

Bono mentioned that his band was playing a show in Edmonton on Wednesday and asked if they'd like to go.

So Brule and Nichols sold their tickets for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, bought plane tickets (three, so Brule's mom could come too) and flew back to Edmonton, where Brule is a forward for the Oilers.

Bono got them backstage passes to say thanks for the ride.

On Nichols's pass, he wrote: "Thanks for the ride."

On Brule's pass, he wrote: "My hero Gilbert."

It was the strangest thing.

"We go to walk our dog and Bono ends up in our car," Brule said.

Bono paid tribute to the favour onstage during Wednesday's concert.

"I like ice hockey because people who play ice hockey are the kind of people who pick up hitchhikers," Bono told the crowd.

"I'm ever so grateful. I've decided that I want to be Gilbert Brule."

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Copyright © 2011 The Edmonton Journal

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on June 2, 2011 8:15 PM.

U2 in 1981: 'Up on your feet! This is not Woodstock...' was the previous entry in this blog.

'Bono Pay Up': art group plans tax protest at Glastonbury gig is the next entry in this blog.

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