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Film, martial arts star Chuck Norris visits fan diagnosed with cerebral palsy

May 11, 2017 GMT

Millville, Utah resident Brian Bills, 27, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 13 months old. A fan of Chuck Norris as a kid, despite his limitations, he would impersonate martial arts moves in the actor’s movies and television shows.

“I had CP, I couldn’t walk and I started moving a lot faster when I saw him,” Bills said. “Now, I can pretty much move on my own. I have some extra support.”

Bills got a chance to fulfill a longtime dream on Wednesday afternoon and meet Norris, who was at the Maverik gas station and convenience store on 304 S. Main Street, Logan, for a promotional event.

“It was quite awesome,” Bills said. “I didn’t expect him to hug me and take extra time. Twenty one years in the making, and I finally did it.”

Bills and his family were just a few of the many people who rounded the block on 300 South and 100 East to meet Norris.

For Norris, meeting die-hard fans never gets old.

“For me, at my age, being out of the film industry for so long, that the people still know who I am, it’s a blessing for me and I really appreciate it,” he said in an interview.

Norris said he had never been to Logan before, but visits friends in Salt Lake City.

Utah’s capital city has a special place in Norris’s heart because it was the place he fought in his first-ever karate tournament in 1964.

“I drove up with three of my students, my students won the tournament; they won their division, I lost my division,” he said, laughing. “My first, tournament, my first loss.”

Norris said that Salt Lake tournament shaped his martial arts philosophy.

“When I’m driving back, I’m thinking, ‘OK, I may lose again, but I’ll never lose the same way twice,’” Norris said. “Well, I never did lose again.”

Norris stopped at the Logan Maverik between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to promote his own bottled water brand, CForce, which comes from an aquifer on the actor’s Texas ranch. He was also promoting a contest to give away a pickup truck called “Truck Norris.”

Indeed, there were plenty of CForce water bottles to go around, and the truck was on site for everyone to see.

Norris was also scheduled to visit Maverik stations in Centerville and Riverdale that same day.

The 77-year-old actor is best known for his martial arts abilities, his starring roles in film and in the 1990s hit television show “Walker, Texas Ranger” and work promoting exercise equipment and physical fitness.

Norris’s persona has attracted a huge following over the years, leading him to become an internet sensation with running jokes about his toughness. Fans might be familiar with memes such as “Chuck Norris built the hospital he was born in,” or “The flu has to get Chuck Norris shots once a year.”

The Herald Journal also spoke with several people of all ages who had come to see the film icon at Logan Maverik.

Jim Keller, of Perry, and his 9-year-old son, Max, were in line to meet Norris.

“It’s a good day to bag work and school,” Jim Keller said.

Keller’s son, Max, had a painting of Norris given to him by his uncle as a gift. He hoped Norris would sign the painting and answer a question.

“Did Bruce Lee really beat him up? I really do not believe that,” Max said, referring to the film “The Way of the Dragon.”

Not everyone who came to see Norris at Logan Maverik was from Cache Valley. LaNae Hansen drove from Idaho Falls to visit “my idol, my hero.”

“I’d love to meet him and tell him thank you for all that he’s done for mankind,” Hansen said.

Norris has contributed to organizations for kids and veterans. He has also taken a somewhat active role in politics — in 2008 and 2016, supporting then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and in 2016 Texas Senator Ted Cruz.