The 17-year-old Lake View High School junior and aspiring astrophysicist was granted that honor when the pair sat down for about three hours Friday after Krauss' appearance at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at the Hyatt Regency.
"It's a rare occasion that people get to meet their greatest inspirations," said Geci, who lives in Lakeview. "After having read his books and watched his online lectures, I found it incredible that I was sitting at a table with him."
Krauss, director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and foundation professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration, also is a best-selling author. He was in Chicago to give a presentation at the association meeting called "Where's My Flying Car? Science, Science Fiction, and a Changing Vision of the Future."
Geci attended the session with his mother, Ajtene, and then they met Krauss for dinner at the Fairmont Chicago next door for dinner.
"The enthusiasm he shows for science is inspiring, and the love and support he gets from his family is heartwarming," Krauss said. "We had a wonderful dinner together, and I got to answer Don's questions, and learn more about his life, and his family's life."
That included Don's tale of survival when he was in Kosovo, where he nearly died several times as an infant from febrile seizures. That was when his family was escaping a war in Kosovo from 1998 to 1999.
Ajtene Geci carried Don, the youngest of her three children, for scores of miles through mountains, forests and rivers. The family — her husband Besnik, a daughter and two sons — survived four months in the wilderness before reaching neighboring Macedonia. She still calls Don her "miracle baby."
There, they joined other refugees on their way to Iceland, New York and finally San Diego. When they arrived in California, they had less than $50 to their name and only the clothes on their backs.
Geci is now a swimming and science standout at Lake View High and has Princeton, Cornell, Cal Tech, MIT, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Chicago on his list of college choices.
"Don's life story demonstrates how the human spirit can overcome adversity, how one's dreams and goals can help fill one with hope and optimism rather than bitterness," Krauss said. "It is an inspiring story, full of love and warmth, intelligence and dedication."
Said Ajtene Geci of Friday's meeting: "It gives me the feelings that all the obstacles we've overcome and all the hardships we've endured have been worth it. As a mother, it felt amazing to see your child have one of his dreams fulfilled."
Krauss first heard about Geci after a DNAinfo Chicago article about Geci. He said Geci's story was "beautiful" and wished to connect with him via email to set up Friday's meeting.
Geci became of fan of Krauss several years ago after watching his documentary series "How The Universe Works." After viewing some of Krauss' lectures online, he began ordering his books, including "A Universe from Nothing" and "Quintessence." Friday, he brought both of those books, which Krauss signed during their dinner.
Geci and Krauss spent much of their time talking about their mutual love for science. When Krauss was a teenager, he told Geci of his opportunity to speak with one of his mentors, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman.
"As a high school student, I had various well-known scientists as role models, and I feel very fortunate to be in a position to return the favor," Krauss said. "It was a memorable day, and it made my visit far more worthwhile."
Geci said he hopes Friday wasn't his only chance to spend time with Krauss.
"Despite having three hours with him, I still felt I had a lot more to tell him; it still didn't seem like enough time," he said. "I suppose it never is when you meet one of your heroes."