Thousands of people were waiting on a sunny day this overcast morning at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Freehold. Fans eagerly awaited the arrival of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. His autobiography, Born To Run, was due out today, and this is the first of several stops he's making on a rare promotional book tour.

The line zigzagged around the entire Barnes & Noble bookstore.
Photo by Joe Votruba / Townsquare Media

It isn't quite a book signing as much as it is a photo-op, for which I am grateful. Security and the event staff set things up a bit differently, but it was very well organized. The books were signed ahead of time, and a ticket to this event meant you must buy the book on the day of the appearance. The first line we were on was to get into the store to purchase the book, but you don't receive it until later. The book is not price gouged due to The Boss's signature, it was a very modest $22. From there, we were led back outside into another line. This time, it was to wait to go back inside the bookstore yet again to have our 30 seconds with guest on honor.

Looking back, I was less excited than I should have been in the days leading up to this. With all the rules put in place stating fans couldn't even speak to him, but rather only walk up to him, have your photo taken, and then be on your way, I thought it was going to be truly one of the most robotic and least genuine ways to meet somebody, let alone someone you've admired most of your adult life. As it turned out, Bruce was very receptive to people speaking to him and he was all smiles from start to finish. There were a few employees keeping the line moving, but it wasn't obnoxious like I was expecting.

Bruce Springsteen's signature
Photo by Joe Votruba / Townsquare Media

This is a bucket list item I've come close to crossing off a few times, but I've never been able to seal the deal...until today! And it doesn't hurt to walk away with a brand new book to read as well! I knew my time was limited with him, so when I got up there, I told him how much his music meant to me. I'm sure he heard that phrase about 1,000 times today before I said it, but it's the truth. He thanked me, we posed for a photo, and then I nearly left him hanging when he tried to shake my hand. A member of the security team was gesturing to me to leave so the next fan could have their chance to pose with Bruce, but Bruce was operating at a bit of a different pace. Luckily I looked down in time to shake his hand before leaving.

I will never forget having the opportunity to meet Bruce Springsteen in Freehold, his hometown, and the town I am proud to currently call my home. Truly a dream come true. A place he sings about countless times in his music. And a place that is talked about many times in his new book, Born To Run. I have a feeling reading this book is going to be just a little bit more special for me now. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go pinch myself repeatedly until I'm convinced this actually happened!

— Joe Votruba

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