Cellphone video captured the visit and went viral on Facebook.
Juanita Hubbard, who has lived at East 86th and South East End Avenue since the 1950s, recently moved in with her granddaughter in south suburban Calumet City while repairs were being done to her home.
On Saturday, Hubbard was at her home for a schedule repair when Denzel Washington surprised her. He was driving in the area trying to find Leon's BBQ, according to the Hubbard family.
Washington used to have family in the same neighborhood and, as child, used to visit. In the video, Hubbard is seen holding Washington's arm as he tells stories about being "5, 6, 7" years old and visiting family down the street at 86th and Harper. At one point, Washington shakes a boy's hand and says: "My name is Denzel."
Washington then saw Hubbard's family outside and decided to get out and start chatting. That's when he learned Hubbard was a fan and surprised her at the doorstep.
Hubbard said she hasn't been able to sleep since the encounter.
In the cellphone video, she is seen clutching Washington's arm and saying, "I'm not going to let him go!"
She couldn't believe how genuine he was, chatting it up with everyone from the neighborhood and even reciting one of his famous lines from "Training Day."