This is one of my favorite stories, found on Reddit a few months back:
Q: What celebrity surprised you with their kindness?
“Robin Williams…very friendly and funny. More so then I expected honestly. I went to a dinner with my father and a couple of his co-workers at a fancy Italian restaurant when I was about 18 and about halfway through the meal a few of the co-workers got drunk and started to scream at the waiter in Italian. In response, the waiter, and eventually a few other workers, joined in and were screaming back at the co-workers and then in between all of them came Robin Williams gesticulating wildly and screaming mock Italian at both sides until they calmed the hell down and started to laugh at Robin Williams and his antics instead. When everyone went back to their seats I walked up to Robin Williams, thanked him for defusing the situation, and did the usual “I love your work, It’s amazing to meet you” spiel and then he began to ask ME questions about my life, how I am, my age, what I wanted to do, and was very friendly and caring. When I was walking away back to my dad he stopped me and said words I try to live by:
‘Kid, take a good look at those suits. Don’t try to end up like them. If you need booze or drugs to enjoy your life to the fullest then you’re doing it wrong.'”
A great, great man died today. Effortlessly funny, extremely kind, a uniter of the young and old. Depression is a fickle creature and it spares no one, famous or not. I can’t help thinking he kept others laughing to hide his own sadness, or maybe to help others out of their own dark hole. We’ll never know.
I watched Mrs. Doubtfire over and over again when I was little. Dead Poet’s Society quickly rose the top of my favorite movie list – I swear it helped inspire me to be a writer, and one day, a professor myself. Good Will Hunting only appeared on my radar a few years back, but Robin Williams’ performance was a damn home run.
I leave you shocked, a little frozen, and very saddened. Brilliance like his only comes around once in a generation.
Scott Simon (@nprscottsimon) has put it best: “A thought is helping me get through the day: Richard Pryor & George Burns greeting Robin Williams at the pearly gates.”
Goodbye, Mr. Williams. I hope you’ve found the peace that you so deserve.
Struggling with depression and thinking suicide is the only way out? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255. There is always hope.