How the Late Actor Paul Walker Saved Lives – Including Mine
When actor Paul Walker passed away almost a year ago in a car accident, I was absolutely inconsolable. He was my first major crush, and even though I didn’t consistently keep tabs on him, he was always active in that part of my brain that re-activates every time you recall your male fantasy.
The weeks following his death, I stalked his memory on the Internet, by surfing through his headshots, Youtube library, and any other images I could legally click through. His gorgeous face became a torture device, as I tried to comprehend how someone so beautiful could die in such a tragically violent way. I thought people who looked like Paul Walker live forever, and if they do have to die, it happens quietly and peacefully. Sounds naïve but sometimes child-like tendencies can make life somewhat bearable. But we all know that the script can be switched without our consent. After November 30, 2013, I realized that even the best of the bunch can’t be guaranteed a smooth ending.
So, yeah, you could conclude that I became obsessed with my deceased crush. I wanted to know everything about him. What was he like when he was alive? What were his passions, pursuits, and did he have a girlfriend. I was turning into the very thing I abhorred in others. But I just couldn’t help myself. As I scanned his videos and read the comments below, it occurred to me that I wasn’t the only pathetic loser mourning the death of someone I didn’t even know. It was clear that I was part of a freaky group of individuals, who shared my insatiable need to devour anything remotely related to a movie star who I assumed became famous strictly because he was so damn good looking.
It was during my intense research that I stumbled upon a video that held me captive from start to finish. He was making his rounds as the new face of Davidoff Cool Water, and as always he was cool, calm and collected not to mention disarmingly accessible. The questions being posed to him were the usual inquiries and even though I had watched answer them a thousand times before, I still watched him as if it were the very first time. It wasn’t until he was asked about his charity, that I snapped out of my robotic gaze. His body language and tone immediately perked up and he began to speak passionately and clearly about Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW), a non-profit organization he founded in 2010, with a designated mission to provide first response to victims of disaster ridden areas around the globe.
I was fascinated and mesmerized as I watched and listened to Paul Walker detail his first ever mission to Haiti in 2010, (it was an entertaining story that is even more fulfilling thanks to his hilariously transparent jab at Anderson Cooper). I was even more moved by what inspired him to create ROWW in the first place. As an avid adventurer and traveler, he was privileged to have the opportunity to visit remote parts of the world, a luxury that he never took for granted. Unfortunately some of those hideouts are prone to the fury of Mother Nature, and so he felt obligated to figure out a way to assist the ones who wouldn’t typically receive assistance based on their location.
It may not sound that impressive, but I have to admit that I was blown away. I had imagined that Walker’s striking looks and charisma would translate into another over-blown celebrity who was just content reaping the spoils of his fame. Famous people have a narcissistic quality that makes them dependant on public adulation and validity. They tend to attach themselves to charities because it brings the right kind of attention. Paul Walker conceived his now thriving gem privately and was determined to keep it that way. He operated under the radar, and did everything he could to ensure that his fame wouldn’t be a distraction.
He basically used up all the time he was allotted during the interview session because he was so excited to share something that meant so very much to him. But the thing that really stood out for me was when he confessed that being an actor was never a profession he craved. It was something he felt he didn’t earn because it came to him so easily, without any effort on his part. Almost like he was destined to play in an arena that went against everything he desired. Despite his stunning leading man looks, Walker wanted to live a simpler life as a marine biologist, which was borne out of his love for the ocean. He was the quintessential California dude. He enjoyed surfing and indulged in outdoor activities. Being a movie star happened by accident, and even though he reluctantly accepted his fate, he still managed to keep his deeper passions alive.
So now to the crux of my discovery; I have always wanted to be that person who not only understands the importance of helping people in need but also demonstrates it by doing what I can to prove that I am not a self-centered citizen of the world. Unfortunately after a rough tally, I have to admit that I have failed miserably when it comes to my contribution to humanity. The person who made me want to change that is the late Paul Walker, someone who served as mere eye candy, until his legacy became my reality. He wasn’t just a pretty face, he was a passionate, compassionate and honorable soul, who saw an opportunity to elevate the lives of innocent victims and decided to be their superhero.
Friday, September 12, 2014 would have been his 41st birthday, and that’s a hard pill to swallow for those who love him but thankfully they have come up with a way to celebrate his life. They have asked all his fans to participate in two events that will surely have the golden boy smiling down with joy. The one that I will definitely respond to requires a donation to his charity – Reach Out Worldwide. The goal is to raise $1,000,000 by his birthday. I am motivated to spread the word because I see it as my way of not only honoring Paul Walker but also as a way for me to feel like I am giving back in my own subtle way. Ever since I saw that life-changing video, I have literally thrown myself into volunteer work and I am also looking for jobs that will allow me to use my media skills in a way that will uplift the lives of people in need.
What started off as a bizarre trip down the freak zone turned out to be a life saver. Sometimes your best discovery comes in an unexpected way. Idolizing a person for the way his eyes sparkle when he smiles or how irresistibly sexy he is when his upper torso is exposed is admissible, but there comes a time when you need something more tangible to keep you loyal. I found that in Paul Walker, and even though I am sad that it took his death to get me up to speed, I am convinced that for me it was a timely realization. I hope his story will inspire you enough to take action if you haven’t already. You can start by donating to ROWW to wish its founder a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY.