Sometimes, everything does work out in your favor, like it did for Mimi.
Actor and comedian Zach Galifianakis first met Elizabeth Haist, affectionately called Mimi, in 1994 when he was an upcoming comic waiting for his big break. Mimi was homeless and struggling to survive with the tips she received while volunteering at a laundromat.
Zach, who lived in an apartment near Fox Laundry, visited the laundromat often. But after his big success with the first Hangover movie, he had moved out and had stopped visiting Fox Laundry. "Maybe he has his own washer and dryer now," speculated Haist, per NY Daily News. But when the actor discovered that Mimi has been homeless and on her own for almost 30 years, he decided to do something about it. He immediately got in touch with her, and helped her move to a new apartment and paid for her rent and utilities. Galifianakis then introduced Haist to Renee Zellweger, who furnished the elderly woman's apartment.
He still stops by to take her often to lunches when he's in Los Angeles. Zellweger, who she describes as a "very sweet lady," also buys groceries for Haist. “I really love it. I have a place where I can sleep and arrange things, and it’s really heaven,” Mimi told PEOPLE. “I still go to the laundromat every day to keep busy and people come in and say, ‘Oh you’re a star!’” she adds. People have even started coming to the laundromat to ask for Mimi's autographs.
If that wasn't enough kindness, he also took Haist to the premiere of his movie, The Campaign. She wasn't a known figure, and that created such a huge buzz. "All the fans were taking photos and I waved at them, I said, 'They don't know who I am!'" said Haist of her first premiere experience. She has since taken a liking to it. "I'm looking forward to it, I like the excitement of it," she said at the time.
The actor picked her up in a limo from the doorstep of her Santa Monica apartment before taking her to the premiere. It's an experience that Haist loves. "If he's in town, he takes me. Otherwise, he lets me take a friend. I dress up nice and a friend helps me with my makeup. It's fun, not something I've ever dreamed I'd experience. The limo takes me home afterward," said Haist.
She attended the after-party as well, meeting up with Hollywood superstars. "Afterwards, they have a party somewhere close by and you meet the stars. I drink lemon drop martinis with Grey Goose vodka," she said. In fact, amateur Israeli filmmaker Yaniv Rokah even shot a film on her titled "Queen Mimi." Rokah said that those who had been around the area knew her as the “Queen of Montana.”
“I remember thinking, ‘Who is this older woman who’s working at a laundromat seven days a week? And why does she seem so happy all the time?’” he said. “Here I am struggling to make it in Hollywood, working at a coffee shop, and across the street, there’s this ball of fire, like a pink-wearing, singing, dancing diva who turns out to be homeless.”
A little kindness can go a long way. The friendship between Mimi and Zach is a living proof of this.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Christopher Polk