In 2009 I had the opportunity to meet Robin Williams. I was attending the TED conference. It was the evening before I would be speaking and I was nervous and excited. There was an evening event, a social with food and drinks. It was opening night for TED 2009. I had already met and talk with a number of amazing people and was about to go back to my hotel room when I found myself next to Robin. He was sitting on a ledge. I decided to sit next to him. He said “Hello, how are you?” So I told him. I was nervous about speaking the next morning. Then I said “And what do you do?” He paused for a moment before I said “just kidding.”
We talked for some time. He introduced me to his son, Zak. He seemed sincerely interested in the talk I was giving the next day. I remember asking him about addiction. The way I asked the question was “You are so successful in your career, how would you say the difficulty of such a successful career compares to overcoming addiction?” He said “I have to work very hard at both all the time.”
We were interrupted a number of times during our conversation by fans approaching him. He would have whoever was around at the time laughing within moments, including me, until they left and he came back to talking with me. It was amazing to watch. He truly was a brilliantly funny man. We parted ways and he assured me I would do great.
I gave my talk the next morning and during the break Robin came running over to me, gave me a big hug and told me I did a great job.
I guess the thing I remember the most about him was the kindness in his eyes. I fell a little in love that day. I remember thinking about the fact that I don’t remember, since realizing I was a lesbian, having a crush on a man, but I had a crush on Robin Williams.
My heart was broken yesterday, along with so many other people, from the news of his death. I am so saddened that he knew such suffering, and that he died alone, by his own doing, and that today his family knows a different kind of sorrow.
I miss you, dear man. You were a gift to this world.