One of the reasons Doctor Who has lasted so long and resonated with so many is because the role is so aspirational. We all wish we were as brave and smart and clever and compassionate as the Doctor. But at the same time, the character also reflects those hopes back at us, because the time lord is forever seeing the potential in our species — the ways we could be better and kinder and stronger than we are right now. Case in point: actor Matt Smith, who took a few moments out of his day for a simple act of kindness for a young, ill fan.
Four-year-old Jack Robinson was diagnosed last month with an inoperable brain tumor. It’s a nightmare scenario for any parent, and a situation where I’m sure it becomes imperative to do everything you can not only to try and find a treatment, but also to make the kid’s every day as good and magical as you possibly can. Unfortunately the Doctor can’t appear in his TARDIS and cure Jack with a thingamabob he cobbled together from a remote control car, an egg beater, and three rolls of aluminum foil. But once again the internet proves it can be used for good, as Jack’s story somehow found its way to Smith, who recorded the video above and promised to send along some cool Doctor Who goodies. But for Jack, I’m sure it was more than just a video from a famous actor — it was a message from his Doctor.
Smith is currently in Austin, Texas, but also said he hopes to be able to swing by and see Jack in person. Jack’s father, Terry, told Portsmouth News that “Jack had gone to sleep, but we woke him up to show him the message. His eyes just lit up and he was so delighted. It has made his day.”
Situations like this always make me view fame as, in a way, similar to being Superman. Superman could save almost anybody from almost anything, but there’s only one of him, and only so many hours in the day, so he can’t save everybody from everything. As a famous actor, Smith can’t reverse time or stop a bullet or kill cancer. But he can do what he can do, and taking the time to do what you can do in a situation like this is a pretty good definition of character, if you ask me. So well done, Mr. Smith. The Doctor would be proud.