While Hollywood and the world reels over the shocking death of Paul Walker, the truth about the Fast and Furious star is now coming out: Behind those blue eyes and handsome face was a genuinely kind and generous person.
Gawker reports on a previously unknown incident that appears to be typical of Walker's magnanimous nature.
Back during the holiday season of 2004, Walker wandered into a jewellery store in Santa Barbara, Calif. Store clerk Irene King says she'll never forget the day, and not because there was a celebrity in her presence. It was more about what Walker did while he was there.
Also in the store that day was Kyle Upham, a member of the U.S. military recently returned from his first tour of duty in Iraq, and his fiancée, Kristen, who were browsing for engagement rings.
In a Facebook account of the day, King says that Kristen spotted something "she really, really liked" – an engagement ring with a price tag of $9,000 (U.S.). Upham told her: "Honey, I can't afford that."
But somebody else in the store that day could afford it. According to King, Walker discreetly told the jewellery-store manager to "put it on my tab." And then he quietly left the store. The manager called the couple back and told them the ring had been paid for.
King claims that she and her fellow employees have honoured Walker's request not to reveal his generous act but felt the world would want to know in wake of the actor's sudden passing.
Once King told the story on Facebook and the story went viral, the Uphams, now happily married, came forward to confirm Walker's act of kindness.
In an interview with a Los Angeles CBS affiliate, Kristen Upham recalled the day she got her dream ring.
"I noticed there was someone else in there but didn't give it much thought," she said. "We started looking at rings and whatnot and he [Walker] kept saying, 'go bigger,' and I kept saying, 'no, look at the prices.' "
Kristen recalled that she and her soon-to-be husband were making small talk with the actor when she mentioned that Kyle had just returned from Iraq.
"I remember seeing the look in his face," she said. "He kind of transformed."
When the couple were later summoned back to the store to pick up the new ring, they asked who had picked up the tab. At Walker's request, the employees refused to divulge the mystery benefactor and replied with only a silent smile.
Today, the Uphams admit they suspected it was Walker who paid for the ring all along, but they weren't sure until King came forward with her Facebook telling of the story.
Paul Walker, you were a class act.