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Brian Mulroney in Red Deer County? You must be kidding…

It’s no joke that the former prime minster was in the local Costco
Mulroney poses with Costco’s front-end store manager Kelly Happeney

It isn’t every day a former Canadian prime minister can be seen strolling down the aisles of Red Deer’s Costco store.

Yet it happened this week, when shoppers and staff were amazed to see Brian Mulroney headed towards the food court in the Gasoline Alley store to buy a $1.50 hotdog for lunch.

Costco’s front-end store manager Kelly Happeney, said a coworker pointed him out to her at just before 1 p.m. on Wednesday. The two tentatively approached the one-time Canadian leader not sure whether he really was the celebrity they thought.

“We asked him, ‘Are you Brian Mulroney?’ And he said, ‘Yes….’

“I told him I was happy to meet him.”

Happeney heard that Mulroney, who was formally dressed in a long coat and suit, was on his way to Edmonton to speak to an agricultural group. He had pulled off the Hwy 2 for a mid-day meal — and apparently couldn’t resist the budget-priced Costco deal.

“Everybody raves about our hotdogs, because for $1.50 you get a hotdog and pop.”

The distinctive-looking Mulroney hasn’t changed much, said Happeney. “He’s a little greyer on top, but he looks pretty good.”

Other people were repeatedly approaching, interrupting his lunch, but Mulroney kept smiling at his admirers and indulging their numerous requests for selfies.

“He was very gracious. He had a lot of smiles for our staff — everybody was star-struck,” said Happeney.

While not everyone who approached the former prime minister was necessarily a big fan while he was in office from 1984 to 1993, she thought enough time has passed for the native of Baie-Comeau, Que. to have stepped into the history books.

“That time is over and done with, and we’ve had several other prime ministers since then… we were just happy to meet him and he was very nice…”