Let me preface this by saying that I’m still pretty emotionally shook, so this might be a little messy, but if I don’t write it now I never will.
It was earlier this year, March I think, when he was in town filming Night at the Museum 3. I was walking around downtown as I often do. When you’ve lived in Vancouver as long as I have you become accustomed to seeing celebrities around town, at least I have, and so I’ve moved past the phase where I get overly excited and ask for a photo and / or an autograph. Usually I just give a nod and say “Hey [insert celebrity name here]” as I’m walking past, and usually I’ll receive a “Hey” or a nod in return.
This was different though. This was Robin Williams. A man who captured my imagination like no other when I was just a young kid. I’ve loved Robin Williams since the first time I saw Hook back in the mid 90s, and so it was hard for me to just nonchalantly walk past. There was a slight crowd around him as you can imagine but I was determined to wait my turn and tell this man what an influence he’s been in my life. As the crowd begun to part, and I inched closer and closer to the front, I started to get equal parts nervous and excited. I started thinking about all the kind things I could say, and all the ways I could say them, and before I knew it I was at the front of the line.
There he was. His magnificent glory within reaching distance. My mind went blank and I did what felt natural: I extended my arm for a handshake and introduced myself. He smiled politely, shook my hand, and introduced himself back as if I had no idea who he was. Without thinking I started talking about Hook, how much I loved it and how it’s gotten me through some tough times, and how it’s the one movie I can go back and watch at any time and still enjoy it as much as the first time I watched it. And with a giant smile on my face I went on and on for what felt like an eternity. When I finally stopped talking he smiled back, and I’ll never forget what he said next:
Thank you for believing.
Thank you for believing. Like we’ve just been through the shit together. I get so emotional thinking about it now but it was so thrilling to me at the time. He asked me if I wanted a picture and like a fool I said no. I told him that meeting him was enough for me, and that I didn’t need a picture to remember it.
It’s crazy to me that I met this man just a few months ago and now he’s gone. What I’m sure was just another moment for him is one that I’ll cherish forever, and I’m thankful that I was able to tell him how much he meant to me before he passed.
This is a man who changed the world, and it’s a far worse place without him.
Bangarang, Mr. Williams.
Gone but not forgotten.