Kate Lyon Osher had lost her husband and was crying at an airport bar when the actor comforted her.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 24, 2021. It has since been updated.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of suicide that some readers may find distressing.
It's been seven years since Robin Williams passed away, but the wound feels as fresh as ever and refuses to heal for many. Robin Williams was one of the brilliant actors but what makes him so loved is his ability to connect with people, be it through his work, interviews, or even in person. The actor's death felt extremely personal for Kate Lyon Osher, who met Robin Williams at one of the lowest points of her life, according to The Huffington Post. Her first husband had died by suicide and she was grappling with the loss when she felt a kind hand on her shoulder. It was Robin Williams. He consoled her, gave her the strength to power on, and even made her crack up a few times.
Recently, she opened up about her meeting with Robin Williams and how his kindness shone through it and comforted her when she needed it most. She was carrying her husband's ashes in a Tupperware to scatter it where her husband had requested. She was at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) when she was stopped by a TSA agent who was having his own trip by denying her entry. It was post 9/11 and security was beefed up. The agent went as far as saying she will have to toss her husband's ashes. Another cop had to step in to calm things down and let her in. She was already vulnerable and now she was in tears. "I made it to the airport bar still crying and clutching my little container. I sat in a corner table facing the wall so no one could see how hysterical I was and I felt a hand on my shoulder. A soft voice stated, '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.' Through my tears, I could place the voice but couldn’t actually believe Robin Williams was just casually strolling through LAX and would actually take the time to stop to see if I was OK," wrote Osher.
"I was still crying," she wrote. He quietly listened to her as she narrated her personal situation and he was empathetic. "His eyes got a little glossy. His voice got softer. And he said to me, 'Addiction is a real b*tch. Mental illness and depression are the mother of all b*tches. 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?'” she recalled. He then proceeded to walk her to the gate and made her laugh all the way, mimicking random people, including the TSA agent who was rude to her.
During the height of America's homelessness crisis in the 90's — Robin Williams asked if he could testify before the Senate.— Goodable (@Goodable) April 13, 2021
Whoopi Goldberg was by his side.
It's the most powerful two minutes you'll see today... pic.twitter.com/y1yiTRQUfd
She was in shock after learning of the actor's death. "He was honest about his demons. He was open about his mistakes and his faults. He was obviously in pain," wrote Osher, before she referenced his own words, "Mental illness and severe depression are the mother of all b*tches. Damn straight." Looking back at her meeting with the actor, she said it sustained her during a difficult time in her life. "That moment saved me. You were the angel I needed," she wrote.
Robin was once in a coffee shop in San Francisco at 230am, when he saw a man who was depressed.— Goodable (@Goodable) July 21, 2021
The man had just lost his parents.
Robin walked over, sat next to him, and made him laugh. pic.twitter.com/Nf6id96fD8
Robin Williams was an incredible comedian but what really made him stand out was his ability to punch up, while being kind and empathetic to those needed held. One standout moment was an incredible speech he gave on homelessness in the US Senate in 1990 as lawmakers discussed a program to fight homelessness. "I do believe this can work in an incredible way, from a grassroots level, that the money can get to that and prevent, truly prevent homelessness, that's where it lies. You can't keep picking people up, you have to stop them from falling," said Williams.
If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is, please contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
Cover image source: Getty Images for AFI | Photo by Kevin Winter