Like many people, the passing of Robin Williams yesterday greeted me with a mixture of incredible sadness and wonderful memories of his humor and philanthropy. I was lucky enough to meet Robin a few times and capture a brief glimpse into the life of a comic legend. 

I first met Robin Williams in 2002. I was sitting in the kitchen of my partner’s sister’s house. She worked as a nanny for his children. The doorbell rang, and when my partner returned, he seemed dumbfounded as Robin Williams followed him in. Robin was wearing a windbreaker, cargo pants, and the coolest running shoes I had ever seen. As he walked into the kitchen, he hungrily raided the pantry looking for snacks, like a kid, while my friend was cooking dinner. She looked over and yelled “Robin!” He stopped. Robin walked over and introduced himself. I played it cool but I was dying inside. He even knew my name. It was pleasantly bizarre but, from what I have heard, not unlike him to have such courtesy.

A year later I met Robin again as a guest in his home on Thanksgiving Day. It was another unique experience filled with laughter, music, and even an arcade. Robin spent a great deal of time in that arcade. While most would think that an evening with Robin Williams would be non-stop zaniness, I was lucky enough to see his calmer side. It was beautiful to see a man of such energy at peace where he felt most himself: home.

In addition to being an Oscar-winning entertainer and a genius comedian, Robin was also a relentless Do-Gooder publicly and privately. His charity work is extensive working with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation among many others. But it didn’t stop with famous friends. In the growing Reddit thread about his passing, there are many stories of him encountering strangers to make the world a happier place. On a personal level, after my partner’s father passed away, Robin helped subsidize last minute travel expenses home to Ireland for his family; a heartwarming gesture to help ease an inconceivable loss. 

I know my brief reflection is only one of many personal stories that will be told about Robin Williams’ limitless humor and humanity. We lost a brilliant mind, a comic genius, and a truly kind man. O Captain! My Captain! You will be missed.

Tony Cruz
Co-Founder of Do-Gooder