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What a Rush: Local woman attends Rush Hour 3 premier in Atlanta

She could understand the words coming off the card, but she couldn't believe them.

Several weeks ago, Thomson resident Juanita Wheeler received a special invitation from actor Christ Tucker to the Rush Hour 3 Atlanta Premier and Post Screening Reception. Mrs. Wheeler was able to watch the movie and then enjoy dinner alongside 300 VIP guests and celebrities on Wednesday, Aug. 8, two days before the movie was released into theaters.

"It was awesome," she said. "I enjoyed it... the movie was very exciting and funny, really funny. ... I want to go and see it again."

Mr. Tucker's business manager, who is close friends with Mrs. Wheeler's daughter-in-law, called Mrs. Wheeler two years ago to request a lawyer recommendation when Mr. Tucker was cited for driving 109 mph on Interstate 20, resulting in the actor spending 28 minutes in the McDuffie County Jail.

"They told me they would send me an autographed picture for helping them," Mrs. Wheeler said. "They never did get around to sending the picture, so that's why they sent me the invitation."

Her daughter-in-law, Ethel Wheeler, used to work in a restaurant owned by Mr. Tucker.

"She said he's funny like that all the time," Mrs. Wheeler said.

In addition to having her picture taken with Mr. Tucker, Mrs. Wheeler got to rub shoulders with and take pictures of other celebrities at the event such as rapper Jermaine Dupri, Diana Ross' son, Evan Ross, filmmaker Dallas Austin, actor Terrence Howard, singer Chris Brown, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Former Mayor and civil rights activist Andrew Young, politician Vernon Jones, former Major League Baseball player Brian Jordon, "and many, many more."

The movie premier was at the Regal Cinemas in Atlantic Station in Atlanta. The VIP dinner was at the Dolce restaurant, also in Atlantic Station.

"Throughout the evening, Mr. Tucker visited each table and thanked the guest for coming," Mrs. Wheeler said. "He also signed a lot of autographs. ... It is something that I will remember for a long, long time."

Web posted on Thursday, August 16, 2007

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