Traveler stories

Wyoming Nurse "Cruises" Hollywood and Discovers the Red Carpet

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By Julie BennNurseZone contributor

Driving to Los Angeles from San Diego, Cassie Lunsford, RN, and her friends were headed to be audience members on TV’s The Price is Right. However, the scene of a red carpet, a huge movie premier and Tom Cruise sidetracked them.

Lunsford, 26, is a traveler with Nurses Rx and on her first assignment in San Diego, currently on assignment at UCSD Medical Center in San Diego as a medical-surgical nurse. Prior to traveling, she worked as a charge nurse at a hospital close to her hometown of Casper, Wyoming, and also as a nurse at a senior citizen’s center. At one point in the future, Cassie wants to return to her work at these facilities while she works on her bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Wyoming.

“My boyfriend, brother and his girlfriend and I were driving around and we came up to this red carpet,” explained Cassie. As they stood at the railing, who should drive up on a motorcycle but Hollywood’s latest starlight couple—Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. The red-carpet hoopla was in honor of the opening of Cruise’s movie, War of the Worlds.

“He parked the bike and then spent two hours signing autographs and doing photos for fans,” said Cassie, who, along with her sister Lindsay, has been a big fan of Cruise. “We loved Mission Impossible and Jerry Maguire.”

Little did Cassie know, but Tom Cruise would spend part of his night on the red carpet talking directly to her. She said that she had a [poor quality] photo of Cruise that she happened to carry with her that day. When he came up to her, Cassie said she gave him the photograph and he said, “What’s this picture?” He seemed to not like the photo as he showed it to Katie Holmes to get her opinion. He ended up signing it, but also going one step further.

Since Cassie’s sister couldn’t be there with her, Cruise actually talked to her on Cassie’s cell phone. Apparently there were media photos taken with Cruise on a cell phone that showed up in a variety of places, but Cassie said she never saw them.

Lindsay, who is in Cassie’s home state of Wyoming, was elated to be able to speak to Cruise. She told him, “Good luck with your movie and marriage.” At the time, Cruise and Holmes were newly engaged and not divulging any wedding plans. “Katie stayed with him the whole time and showed off her ring,” added Cassie.

“The whole experience blew me away,” said Cassie. Her brother’s girlfriend had never been to California before and Cassie describes it as “the ultimate California experience for her.”

Lunsford was impressed with the actor.

“He really was so genuine and spent so much time with the crowd at the premier. To me, that showed him in a better light.”

For now, when she isn’t meeting stars on the red carpet, Cassie said she loves “taking care of people and making them happy (and healthy).

“As soon as I became a nurse, it completed me,” she said.

And, to make her time in San Diego complete, she has gone to a Padres baseball game, Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld. She enjoys body boarding in the Pacific and would like to learn to surf before her assignment ends.

…And perhaps meet some more stars.

© 2005. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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