For Robin’s what would have been his 69th birthday today I thought I would share my random run ins with this kind man. It was about 22 years ago when I lived on the west coast in SF bay area. I was living in San Mateo but dating a woman in IT who lived in the Marina district. On this day her twin sister drove up with family from Monterey and I was playing soccer with a border collie that travelled north with them.
It started to drizzle and then rain rather hard and I seeked refuge with others in the old domed Exploratorium. I was pretty much left to fend for myself as my then soon to be ex GF walked off with her family. I walked inside and well explored, that’s what you do at an exploratorium after all, right?
So I found this exhibit or display that was widely popular and it measured your right and left brain by flashing imagery and then asking you to recreate it to the best of your ability with chalk, and I guess they measured it through video capture somehow.
Anyway, I am there and I open a sliding shiny onyx colored door to see the picture which I did. I then closed it back, and I was about to take up the chalk and draw what I think I saw, and that’s when I saw Robin Williams, in the reflection, chin on his fingers watching me intently. No pressure.
I think I started sweating next honestly, but what I did was open the other door, took the chalk and wrote congratulations Mr. Williams on winning the best supporting oscar for good will hunting. He smiled broadly, leaned down in my right ear and said thank you very much in an elvis presley voice. I turned and said thank you Mr. Williams, he said no I’m Robin and extended his hand.
For the next 8 or so magical minutes I told him my life’s history did Fernando Llamas at him ( which he said while good he said, He told me Billy Crystal hates when people do his impression at him) I told him I loved Good morning Vietnam, Mork and Mindy, I was riffing through his catalog and he was laughing and riffing back. It was then that his family rejoined him he had his wife and his two kids in tow. And as I noticed My soon to be ex GF and her family that had abandoned me outside walking towards me from the other end of the Exploratorium I asked a small favor.
We did a slap thing next and I just tried to follow him but we made up a handshake and then said goodbye. His words were take care chief.
When my soon to be ex GF’s family finally caught up to me they asked me how in the World I knew Robin Williams and I told them rather mischievously that Robin and I were old friends.
I did see Robin and his kids one other time in Golden Gate park. Robin was exiting with his children from the back of what I thought was a range rover. The kids in bike riding gear and helmets, then the bikes all being deployed with the precision of a military exercise. As I walked by he said how’s it going chief? I responded back looking good Robin. He gave me a thumbs up and was gone.
The point of my post is this, I have never heard anyone say anything bad about this man or his willingness to give time, kindness and generosity. Robin was practically light personified. He took time to talk with me, listen to my bad impressions, and was present throughout. We need more of that right now.
I miss you Mr.Williams, I mean Robin, and I always will.