If you reach a certain level of celebrity, you pretty much have to associate yourself with a charity of some sort. It’s a bit of good publicity that makes it easier for regular people not to you hate your gilded, friction-free lifestyle while watching E! after a long day at the sewage treatment plant. In some cases, however, you can tell that a celebrity’s “cause” is more than just for good karma, that it’s something they are genuinely passionate about. That is clearly the case with Sir Patrick Stewart’s work against domestic violence, something which was very apparent during a recent encounter between Stewart and one particular Star Trek fan.
Stewart was putting in an appearance last weekend at Comicpalooza in Houston, Texas. In between the usual fan questions, a woman dressed in a Jadzia Dax costume — this was a convention, after all — asked the former Next Generation star what, aside from his acting, he was most proud of. Stewart then detailed his work with the U.K. groups Refuge, which provides safe houses for victims of abuse, and Combat Stress, which helps soldiers afflicted by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Stewart explained that undiagnosed PTSD — then known as “shell shock” and often dismissed at the time — was the root of his father’s abusive tendencies towards his mother after returning from serving in World War II. ”I work for Refuge for my mother,” said Stewart, “and I work for Combat Stress for my father in equal measure.” You can watch Stewart’s full speech in the video up top.
The video, however, doesn’t reveal one of the most kind and tender details. After Stewart asks the woman if she is “okay,” she assures him that she is, and that her experience with abuse is, thankfully, in the past. The moderator then asks if she needs a hug, and Stewart runs with it, embracing her and, you can see in the video, whispering something to her. We never would have known what, but the woman in question took to the internet to tell her story.
You can read the story on her Tumblr, but here’s her account of the moment in question:
He told me ‘You never have to go through that again, you’re safe now.’ I couldn’t stop thanking him. His embrace was so warm and genuine. It was two people, two strangers, supporting and giving love. And when we pulled away he looked [straight] in my eyes, like he was promising that. He told me to take care. And I will.
It’s a genuinely touching moment from a guy who has used his celebrity to try and make a positive difference in the world. As far as we here at GFR are concerned, he’s a true class act who would deserve the title of “Sir Patrick Stewart” even if the Queen hadn’t made it official.
Image by Eugene Lee