The actor listened to her story, and walked her to the gate, Williams made her laugh before she got on the flight.
Trigger warning: The story contains details of suicide that might be distressing to some readers.
Very few people have the ability to briefly enter someone's life and permanently change them before bidding farewell. Robin Williams was one such person. He is fondly remembered by those close to him as well as strangers that fell in love with him for his art.
One woman, Kate Lyon Osher, revealed that she had a brief encounter with the actor, and the memory of it still remains with her years later.
They met when Kate was going through a difficult time after her first husband, Greg, died by suicide. At the time, Kate was traveling and on one occasion, she found herself in Los Angeles (LAX) with her husband's ashes.
"...It wasn’t always easy to get a Tupperware of your late husband’s ashes through TSA security, and at LAX one afternoon I found myself on the receiving end of an agent with a power trip like no other," Kate wrote, as quoted by HuffPost.
Things got to a point where the officer said she would only be allowed to go through if she threw away her husband's ashes. This made Kate ballistic, and she had to show another cop her husband's death certificate before finally being allowed to go. "I made it to the airport bar still crying and clutching my little container," Kate went on to say. "I sat in a corner table facing the wall so no one could see how hysterical I was, with my whiskey on the rocks providing support, and I felt a hand on my shoulder."
A soft voice said: "Miss, I just want to be sure you are OK. I see you are traveling alone, and I saw what happened, and I just really want to be sure you are OK."
Immediately, she recognized the voice. It belonged to Robin Williams. But she couldn't believe he would be "casually strolling through LAX," let alone stop by a crying woman to see if she was okay.
"I was still crying that ugly cry where you are trying to catch your breath, and I gave him the Cliff Notes version of circumstances," Kate recalled. "His eyes got a little glossy. His voice got softer. And he said to me, 'Addiction is a real b--ch. Mental illness and depression are the mother of all b--ches. I am so sorry for all the pain your husband was in. I’m so sorry for the pain you are in now. But it sounds like you have family and friends and love. And that tips the scale a bit, right?' And he walked me to the gate, as we were on the same commercial flight."
Just like Williams was able to make millions of people across the world laugh till their bellies hurt, he managed to make Kate also laugh that day as they walked towards the gate.
"He got me laughing. Impersonating people we passed by. Making fun of the TSA agents, especially the one who gave me such a hard time. In a playful way though. Not insulting," Kate said. "...when we parted ways, he hugged me. With his famously hairy arms, he gave me a huge, warm, bear hug, and it sustained me. It was a moment I think about all the time. That moment saved me. And sustained me. He sustained me during one of the most difficult moments of my life."
Reflecting on how the actor made the world laugh and cry, Kate also noted that he was "honest about his demons. He was open about his mistakes and his faults. He was obviously in pain."
On Monday, August 11, 2014, Kate was absolutely crushed when she came across the news of Williams' death. It was tough for her to process it because she never forgot the way he was there for her during an immensely difficult phase of her life.
"Rest in peace, Mr. Williams," Kate continued. "May you find the peace that eluded you here and may you keep the angels laughing. Thanks for being there that day for me. You were the angel I needed. And I know you spoke from experience, and I appreciated that."
If you or someone you know shows signs of suicidal thoughts, please reach out to 1-800-273-8255 (NCPL) or suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Frederick Brown