Celebrity

Robin Williams Had His Personal Issues, But This Story About His Kindness Is Amazing

Hearts around the world collectively broke when actor, comedian, doting father, and philanthropist Robin Williams committed suicide in 2014.  

Not only did the legend entertain us with his stand-up comedy, television shows, and critically-acclaimed films, like Mrs. Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting, he also went to great lengths to share kindness when it was needed the most.

Every once in a while a stories about lives he touched pop up online to remind us that the beloved actor made the world a better place, and that is why his legacy continues to live on nearly four years after his death.  

Kelly Osbourne recently revealed that Williams helped her mother, Sharon, after she was diagnosed with colon cancer.

Osbourne explained that her mother started giving up hope, and was on the verge of stopping treatments, when Williams stepped in.

"Dad said laughter is the best medicine and organized for Robin [Williams] to come over and make mom laugh, and he just dropped everything and came over to the house and got in bed with Mom," Kelly revealed.

"I just remember sitting at the bottom of the stairs and we went from crying, not knowing what to do, to just peeing ourselves laughing because we could hear Mom upstairs in her room laughing with Robin. And, the next day it changed everything and Mom went back to chemo," she added.

Sharon chimed in saying that Williams was "one of the nicest, genuine people that you could ever meet."

Robin Williams and Sharon Osbourne
Closer Weekly

Decades before coming to Sharon's aide, Williams was the first person to make his late pal Christopher Reeve laugh after the accident that left him permanently paralyzed.

Reeve was awaiting a major surgery when a doctor in scrubs and a face mask claiming to be a proctologist walked in and started speaking with a Russian accent. Turns out, it was Williams all along.

However, Williams's kindness wasn't just reserved for his fellow celebrities or people close to him, he shared his big heart and humor with anonymous strangers too.

Brian Lord, a writer who once hired Williams for an event, revealed something about the actor that many people did not know.

Most actors and musicians provide a list of demands, also known as a rider, before they agree to work for someone. Many times, these lists are riddled with outrageous and quirky requests.

"In their 1982 rider, Van Halen infamously wanted a bowl of M&Ms – with all the brown ones picked out," said Andrew Goldberg, managing editor of theSmokingGun.com.

As for Williams, he only had one major demand in his rider, and it really highlighted how much he cared about other people.

The funnyman insisted that for every movie or event he did, the producers must hire a certain number of homeless people in the area.  

Williams was a well-known advocate for homeless rights, and he even testified before the Senate in support of the Homeless Prevention and Revitalization Act in 1990.

More stories about the Mork & Mindy star's selflessness began to emerge after his death.

People took to social media to share their heartwarming, silly, and funny encounters with the celebrity, but there was one that stood out from the rest.

A young Robin WilliamsLaser Time

The story, which was posted on Reddit, is about a guy with his family in San Francisco after his father lost both his parents in a horrific murder-suicide incident.

"17 years ago, my Dad’s dad killed my grandma and then himself in a drunken rage. We held a massive service at the church my dad’s mom attended in San Francisco," wrote the Reddit user. "It was obviously a hard night for my dad. My parents stayed late in the city to clean things up and spend time with family. It was about 2:30 AM when we finally started making our way home, but before leaving the city, my dad wanted to stop and get a doughnut at some random doughnut shop we passed by."

Turns out, Williams too was at the shop enjoying a coffee and pastry, when he noticed the family's somber demeanor. He walked over to their table and made them smile even on their darkest day.

"Now, I admit fully that I do not remember what he said to us, but I do remember what he looked like and I remember him Introducing himself as Robin (Which is my aunts name, I think that's why it caught my attention)," wrote the Redditor. "He ended up joining my family at our table and (as my Dad always said) he just started making pleasant conversation, which quickly turned in to him making my parents smile, and soon after he had us all laughing."
He continued, “I couldn’t tell you what they laughed about, but I remember seeing my parents laugh and smile for the first time in weeks. My dad remembered that so fondly. He always said it was exactly what he had needed in that time, and that he appreciated the way Robin Williams went about it. It wasn’t that he was a celebrity, he was just being a nice guy who saw a bunch of sad folks and realised he could probably make a difference. And he did.”

Incredible, right? Well, there's more!

This Reddit user's parents weren't the only strangers who had a terrible day, but walked away with a smile after an encounter with Williams.

A blogger named Kate Osher shared her touching story on the first anniversary of the actor's death, and it truly shows what an amazing man Williams was.

Titled My Angel at LAX, Osher wrote that she met Williams while she was at the Los Angeles airport trying to get her husband's ashes through security.

"After my first husband Greg died by suicide, I went on a travel quest of sorts, scattering his ashes where he requested and trying to piece my life and my soul back together as best I could," Kate recalled. "I spent quite a bit of time flying between Los Angeles (LAX) and Oakland, as I was living in West Hollywood but contemplating a move to San Francisco or Marin and visiting my best friend monthly at a minimum. Post 9/11 it wasn’t always easy to get a Tupperware of your late husband’s ashes through TSA security, and at LAX one afternoon I found myself on the receiving end of an agent with a power trip like no other."

The TSA agent told Osher that she had to toss her husband's ashes, which had her "going ballistic and falling into hysterics."

Finally, a police officer interrupted their escalating interaction, and she was eventually able to get through after the death certificate she was carrying was looked at. However, her experience at the security checkpoint left her shaken.

I made it to the airport bar still crying and clutching my little container. I sat in a corner table facing the wall so no one could see how hysterical I was, with my whiskey on the rocks providing support, and I felt a hand on my shoulder. A soft voice stated, “Miss, I just want to be sure you are OK. I see you are traveling alone, and I saw what happened, and I just really want to be sure you are OK.”

The voice happened to be none other than Williams, much to Kate's surprise. She wrote that she "couldn’t actually believe Robin Williams was just casually strolling through LAX and would actually take the time to stop to see if I was OK."

Robin Williams at LAX
Zimbio

After catching her breath and giving him the "Cliff Notes version of circumstances," Williams offered her some very comforting words.

“Addiction is a real bitch. Mental illness and depression are the mother of all bitches. I am so sorry for all the pain your husband was in. I’m so sorry for the pain you are in now. But it sounds like you have family and friends and love. And that tips the scale a bit, right?” And he walked me to the gate, as we were on the same commercial flight.

Kate called Williams "a gentle soul," who was "kind as he was funny." She has since referring to him as the "angel" she didn't know she needed.

While these two stories immensely resonated with folks on the internet, there are countless other tales about Williams saving the day.

Another Redditor shared a story involving a slumber party at a zoo and Williams. Here's how it goes:

"I guess every year he does this event at SF Zoo where someone can buy, in an auction, a slumber party at SF Zoo and then get to have dinner with and a story read by Robin Williams," wrote user betterbadger. "My dad's best friend had a bidding war with another lady, but was ultimately outbid. When RW heard about it, he agreed to do two nights, one for the lady and one for my dad's friend."

Turns out, Williams impact on the family was bigger than he could've imagined.

Robin Williams
Closer Weekly

About a month prior, betterbadger's father passed away, and the family desperately needed something that would help them take their minds off the devastating circumstance.

"I can never thank RW enough for doing that," they added. "We almost couldn't handle going. But I'm glad we did; he was such an amazing person that for one night my family was happy. He laughed when I called him Mr. Williams, and read us 'The Emperor's New Clothes'. He was so nice and I'll always be grateful to him."
Robin WillaimsNPR

Williams also once saved a fan from a very awkward dinner at an Italian restaurant. The grateful fan shared his experience online months before the actor's death.

“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.”

After reading all these stories, there's no denying that Williams was one of the kindest celebrities the world has ever seen.

May he rest in peace.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.