You know, Hollywood gets a bum rap, but as far as I'm concerned it's a town full of real people. The media is too busy portraying celebrities as full of nothing but money and mendacity, so we rarely get to hear about all the good deeds our stars are out there doing morning, noon, and night. Why shouldn't movie stars make millions as long as they give a little something back? These artists get the big bucks because they're tireless, people, and it doesn't matter how far away from home they are or what time of day it is.
Take Kevin Spacey. You've probably read all about Kevin's current misadventures without giving one thought to the man's benevolence. This man gave his cell phone for the greater good and now the media is having a heyday at his expense. As he explained to the BBC, the Oscar-winning actor was out walking his dog in a south London park in the early morning hours recently when a young black man of 19 or so approached him with "some sob story about someone needing to call their mother and could they use my phone. It was such a good con that I actually dialed the number myself, and then when someone answered I finally handed my phone over, and this kid took off and I ran after him and it was 4 a.m. and I tripped up over my dog and I ended up falling onto the street and hitting myself in the head."
Initially shaken, Kevin went to the police to report a mugging, but then he withdrew the complaint when he calmed down later and realized that "there's a difference between assault and theft, and it just wasn't on for me to not come clean about my own level of embarrassment." God bless Kevin for having the guts to come clean. So many other, lesser performers would've stuck like glue to some outrageous lie to protect their reputations, but Kevin knows the truth will out and I salute him for his courage.
It doesn't surprise me in the least that Kevin would give his cell phone to a total stranger at 4 in the morning. What—are you supposed to turn someone away simply because it's an irregular hour? If you're just naturally a night person, like Kevin Spacey and me, you know it's not irregular to bump into needy people in the dark. You've lived on this earth long enough, you simply get used to the idea of giving. I mean, you know, I'll get down on my hands and knees if someone is really asking for help, and Kevin Spacey is obviously the same way. "Help me, Kevin," someone will say, and just like that the man is on it.
I've been right where Kevin was—only I got off easy. I was once taking my cat out for a breather at 3:15 a.m. in an alley in West Hollywood when a fit, 22-year-old Latino came up to me with a smoldering helplessness and asked if he could see the four $20 bills in my wallet. Andrew Jackson always reminded him of his late grandfather, he said, and, oh, what he wouldn't do for one last chance to tell his grandfather that he loved him. Well, I couldn't reach into my billfold fast enough. I think I helped him, and I know it made me feel good to give. But that's just the kind of person I am.